Travers program

The Travers Program is pleased to announce the 18th Annual Travers Conference on Ethics and Accountability in Government

Money & U.S. Politics

The next US presidential election cycle will see spending by candidates and parties in the billions of dollars, with over $1 billion more spent independently by private interests. Scholars from across social science and law grapple with the effects that these expenditures have on public policy, and on the accountability of policy makers to their constituents. Yet political and legal obstacles interact to make major overhauls of the system difficult and often short-lived. In this conference, experts on the complex interaction between money and politics will gather to present and critique new research, discuss the state of scholarly knowledge on the issue more generally, and debate the political prospects and likely effects of possible reforms.      

Date and Time: The conference will be held in the Social Science Matrix, located on the eighth floor of Barrows Hall, on the southern edge of the Berkeley campus. ( on Friday, April 10, 2015, 9am - 4pm. Continental breakfast, lunch, and light refreshments will be provided. This conference is open to the public, and there is no registration fee.

Panelists Include

Stephen Ansolabehere (Harvard University)
Adam Bonica (Stanford University)
David Broockman (University of California, Berkeley)
Bruce Cain (Stanford University)
Martin Gilens (Princeton University)
Ray Laraja (University of Massachusetts Amhest)
Christine Mahoney (University of Virginia)
Thomas Mann (Brookings Institution and University of California, Berkeley)
Nolan McCarty (Princeton University)
Jeffrey Milyo (University of Missouri and Cato Institute)
Paul Pierson (University of California, Berkeley)
Brian Schaffner (University of Massachusetts Amherst)
Mark Schmitt (New America Foundation)
Abby Wood (University of Southern California)

Conference Schedule
9:00 - 9:10am: Introduction and opening remarks

9:10 - 10:30am: Panel 1 - Research Presentations: Effects of Money on Political Decision Making
(Panelists: Mark Schmitt, Christine Mahoney, Brian Schaffner)

Break: 10:30 - 10:45am

10:45am - 12:00pm: Panel 2 - Political Contributions by Business Elites
(Panelists: Stephen Ansolabehere, Adam Bonica, David Broockman)

12:00 - 1:00pm: Lunch

1:00 - 2:20pm: Panel 3 - Campaign Finance Reform
(Panelists: Jeffrey Milyo, Abby Wood, Ray Laraja)

Break: 2:20 - 2:30pm

2:30 - 3:50pm: Panel 4 - Effects of Money in Politics, Prospects for Reform
(Panelists: Bruce Cain, Marty Gilens, Tom Mann, Nolan McCarty, Paul Pierson)

Closing Remarks: 3:50 - 4:00pm

Please continue to follow this page for updates on logistics, speakers, and schedule.

Co-sponsored by The Travers Program on Ethics and Accountability in Government, The Charles and Louise Travers Department of Political Science, in cooperation with the Commonwealth Club of California.