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Kihong Eom and Donald A. Gross, "Democratization Effects of Campaign Contribution Limits in Gubernatorial Elections," Party Politics, 13 (November 2007), 695-720.

First paragraph:
Soon after the Watergate scandal, Congress undertook efforts in 1974 to reform the federal campaign finance system. A major component of this reform effort was the introduction of campaign contribution limits. The use of contribution limits was seen as an important mechanism by which to lessen the influence of so-called 'special interests' and to encourage citizen participation. Contribution limits could 'democratize' the system of contributions by forcing candidates to rely on a larger number of smaller contributions, thereby reducing the 'value' of any single contribution.1 Similar motivations eventually led the vast majority of states also to impose contribution limits. In fact, other than reporting and disclosure requirements, campaign contribution limits have been the most common feature of state campaign finance reform efforts (Gross and Goidel, 2003).

Figures and Tables:
Table 1. Contribution limits and total contributions
Table 2. Contribution limits and particularistic contributions
Table 3. Contribution limits and universalistic contributions

Last Paragraph:
Our analyses have been based on a consideration of gubernatorial elections. 28 It is clear that gubernatorial elections are, in many ways, different from other elections in America, such as legislative elections (Gross and Goidel, 2003). It is much less likely that contributors can transfer money from their preferred candidate to other desirable candidates, as Box- Steffensmeier and Dow (1992) propose to be the case in legislative elections. Nevertheless, our analysis does indicate that many of the effects of campaign contribution limits proposed by supporters of campaigne finance reform does occur in gubernatorial elections.

Last update November 2013