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AVAILABLE EXPERT - Political fundraising and campaign finance reform

Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Queen’s University economist Christopher Cotton is available to discuss the economics of campaign finance reform. Earlier this week, Premier Kathleen Wynne announced that she was cancelling upcoming private fundraisers, calling on members of cabinet and opposition leaders to do the same, in the wake of mounting public pressure over perceived “selling access” to government ministers.

“’Selling access,’ so to speak, is not nearly as bad as it sounds,” says Dr. Cotton. “There are more demands for access than politicians possibly have time to accommodate. Economic theory suggests that when there is a shortage of something, increasing the price leads to a more efficient allocation. There are ways to do this without biasing policy in favor of the rich.”

Dr. Cotton’s research suggests that taxing political contributions would be more efficient than banning them. It also suggests that eliminating private money from politics may not be enough to remove the policy bias in favor of special interest groups. 

“Politicians are still likely to rely on special interests for information. To eliminate the special interest group bias inherent in the policymaking process, we also need to increase government research funding,” says Dr. Cotton.

Dr. Christopher Cotton is the Jarislowsky-Deutsch Chair in Economic and Financial Policy and an Associate Professor in the Queen’s University Economics Department. He is available for interviews on April 6.

To arrange an interview, please contact communications officer Chris Armes (613-533-6000 ext. 77513 or chris.armes@queensu.ca) or Anne Craig (613-533-2877 or anne.craig@queensu.ca) at Queen’s University News and Media Services Department in Kingston, Ont., Canada.

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Attention broadcasters: Queen’s has facilities to provide broadcast quality audio and video feeds. For television interviews, we can provide a live, real-time double ender from Kingston with HD-SDI. Please call for details.

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