We study electoral campaigns over the long run, through the lens of campaign spend- ing and changing media technologies. We build a novel exhaustive dataset on general elections in the United Kingdom from 1857 to 2017, which includes detailed information on electoral expenditures for 69, 593 election-constituency-candidates – including detailed expenses categories –, extensive candidates’ characteristics, and constituency-level socio- demographic controls. First, we provide new insights on the history of British election- eering; we document the growing importance of material addressed directly to electors, including via digital means, and the declining role of meetings. We then estimate a pos- itive relationship between expenditures and votes, whose intensity has varied over time: it peaked in the last quarter of the XXth century, and then decreased since 2001. We link this evolution to changes in electoral competition, the conduct of campaigns – in particular the introduction of new information technologies –, and candidates’ character- istics. Estimating the changing sensitivity of electoral results to inequalities in campaign spending is of importance for campaign finance regulation.
For more information and to register for this event, please contact Shanker Satyanath (email@example.com).