This paper studies campaign and party finance from the perspective of political ambition. It defines the market for political finance as the set of transactions through which politicians fund the non-governmental activities conducive to the satisfaction of their career ambitions. The market for political funds is characterized by three central postulates: 1. Political finance is motivated primarily by politicians’ need to support the necessary activities to effectively compete for office in democratic elections; 2. The demand for political finance is dynamic, in the sense that it is partly dependent on politicians’ perception of a given contest’s electoral competitiveness; 3. Contributions to parties and candidates are made by citizens who donate their money or other assets out of a combination of ‘consumption’ or ‘expressive’ motives, as well as ‘investment’ or ‘self-interested’ ones. Based on this characterization of the political finance market, I discuss some of the extant comparative literature on political finance markets, and present an agenda for research.


Poiré, Alejandro. "Elements for a Theory of Political Finance." KSG Faculty Research Working Paper Series RWP06-014, April 2006.