Money, elections, and candidates

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This chapter uses candidates’ reports to the Brazilian electoral court to examine the evolution of campaign spending during four elections between 2002 to 2014. Focusing on campaigns for federal representative, we show that campaign spending rose significantly in this period, albeit with significant variation across and within states. Our results suggest that both district magnitude and regional characteristics have limited influence on spending. Similarly, the aggregation of candidates by parties also reveals a complex picture that cannot be explained by the traditional dichotomy of government and opposition. Most importantly, campaign spending has remained concentrated on a few candidates, suggesting that electoral competition in Brazil is less intense than would be expected by observing the raw number of candidates per seat.