The Political Market

Mandle, Jay R.
March 2013
Journal of Economic Issues (M.E. Sharpe Inc.);Mar2013, Vol. 47 Issue 1, p135
Academic Journal
This paper explores the economics of electoral democracy, an almost entirely neglected subject. Running for office necessitates resources. But students of democracy have had almost nothing to say about how much money should be spent by candidates or where that money should come from. As a result, there is a gaping void in the theory of democracy. Joseph A. Schumpeter used a market analogy in his discussion of the electoral process, but even he did not discuss how electoral campaigns are to be paid for. In fact, the few citizens who largely fund campaigns for office in the United States purchase non-rivalrous influence. They obtain the ability to shape the policies that affect all citizens. In this way, political equality is undermined. The paper concludes that achieving a more representative political system can best be attained by treating political campaigns as a public good.


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