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The Effect of State Campaign Finance Regulations on Tax Policy Toward Tobacco and Alcoholic Beverages

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Project Summary:

This study will conduct the first rigorous test of whether state campaign finance reforms influence public health policy. To do so, we will utilize the substantial variation existing in state campaign finance laws over the last 50 years to estimate the relationship between such laws and state alcohol and tobacco taxes. Preliminary results suggest that campaign finance reforms do influence the levels of state alcohol and tobacco taxes in predictable ways. This would be the first direct and systematic evidence that campaign finance reforms actually influence the content of public policy, let alone health policy. Therefore, this project has the potential to lend crucial support to the argument that campaign reform is a potentially important precursor for meaningful public health (and other) reforms.

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