PRESS Open House and Experimental Research Workshop
Department:Center for the Study of Democratic Politics
Audience:Restricted to Princeton University
Center for the Study of Democratic Politics (CSDP)
Bobst Center for Peace and Justice
Niehaus Center for Globalization and Governance
Join PRESS at our beginning-of-the-year Open House
experimental research workshop and dinner
COMPETITION AND DONOR ACCOUNTABILITY IN THE POLITICAL MARKETPLACE: AN EXPERIMENTAL INTERVENTION TO FIGHT 'SCAM PACS'
Abstract: “Scam PACs” are political action committees (PACs) in the United States that use their budgets to enrich their creators, instead of advancing the political causes they purport to champion. In the 2018 election cycle alone they collectively raised at least $50 million.
Regulators and practitioners have warned that scam PACs will not only harm unsuspecting donors, but also poison the well of fundraising for legitimate PACs. However, there has been little research on whether donors can distinguish scam PACs from legitimate PACs, nor on interventions that could prevent donors from falling victim.
To these ends, I propose a research design to contact scam PAC donors with the following objectives:
- Measure gaps in perceived vs. actual spending patterns of scam PACs;
- Provide an experimental intervention to teach donors how to utilize public records to assess PACs' spending patterns;
- Document subsequent changes in contribution behavior and self-reported attitudes towards solicitation attempts.