False advertising and experience goods: The case of political services in
the U.S. Senate
Franklin Mixon, Rand Ressler & Troy Gibson
Public Choice, January 2009, Pages 83-95
This study uses the voter-shopping construct to analyze signaling of moderateness in the U.S. Senate. We compare legislator-provided signals (advertising) - such as membership in the U.S. Senate's Centrist Coalition - with actual voting histories in order to characterize these types of advertising cues as sincere or insincere. Following recent research indicating that moderate legislators receive greater financial support, we test whether or not Political Action Committees (PACs) are willing to support financially those who send false signals of moderateness. Our results show that the mean level of real PAC contributions garnered by non-moderate Democrats who send false signals exceeds that of the non-moderate Democrats who do not do so by $182,078. This figure is about 74% of mean level of real PAC contributions for those non-moderate Democrats who do not send false signals.