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Connections: Is campaign finance misunderstood?


When we talk about campaign finance, those in favor of reform say corporate money in politics threatens democracy. But two social scientists say the influence of cash in politics is misunderstood and reform is not a cure-all. University of Rochester professor David Primo and University of Missouri professor Jeffrey Milyo say despite what many Americans believe, super PAC spending doesn't dominate campaigns. After analyzing decades of survey data from the public and experts, Primo and Milyo argue that changes in state-level campaign finance laws have little to no effect on attitudes toward government.

This hour, we talk about their research and their forthcoming book, "Campaign Finance and American Democracy: What the Public Really Thinks and Why it Matters." Our guests:

  • David Primo, Ani and Mark Gabrellian Professor of Political Science and Business Administration at the University of Rochester
  • Jeffrey Milyo, professor of political economics, law and economics, and health economics; and chair of the Department of Economics at the University of Missouri