Consultants have become an important part of electoral politics, but we know little about their inﬂuence on campaigns. We conduct the ﬁrst systematic analysis of how consultants help disseminate campaign strategies among their clients with new data on U.S. House elections derived from Federal Election Commission records. Using spatial autoregressive models, we ﬁnd that candidates who share consultants are more likely to use similar campaign strategies than we would otherwise expect conditional on numerous relevant explanatory variables. These results, which largely withstand an extensive series of robustness and falsiﬁcation tests, suggest that consultants play a key role in diffusing strategies among Congressional campaigns.
Working Paper. With Brendan Nyhan.
Local copy (pdf)