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Informational lobbying and political contributions

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  • Bennedsen, Morten
  • Feldmann, Sven E.

Abstract

Interest groups can influence political decisions in two distinct ways: by offering contributions to political actors and by providing them with relevant information that is favorable for the group. We analyze the conditions under which interest groups are more inclined to use one or the other channel of influence. First, we identity an indirect cost of searching for information in the form of an information externality that increases the cost of offering contributions. We then show that an extreme interest group might find it beneficial to abandon information provision altogether and instead seek influence solely via contributions. Finally, we apply our model to cast doubt on the "conventional wisdom" that competition among information providers increases the amount of information provided: when the identified information externality is taken into account, we show that competition decreases information search. Thus, our analysis lends support to a rather cynical view of lobbying wherein lobby groups provide little or no useful information to the political process.

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Bibliographic Info

Article provided by Elsevier in its journal Journal of Public Economics.

Volume (Year): 90 (2006)
Issue (Month): 4-5 (May)
Pages: 631-656

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Handle: RePEc:eee:pubeco:v:90:y:2006:i:4-5:p:631-656

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Web page: http://www.elsevier.com/locate/inca/505578

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  1. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Lobbying Legislatures," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  2. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
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  15. Maskin, Eric & Tirole, Jean, 1999. "Unforeseen Contingencies and Incomplete Contracts," Review of Economic Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 66(1), pages 83-114, January.
  16. Austen-Smith, David & Banks, Jeffrey S., 2002. "Costly signaling and cheap talk in models of political influence," European Journal of Political Economy, Elsevier, vol. 18(2), pages 263-280, June.
  17. Lohmann, Susanne, 1995. " Information, Access, and Contributions: A Signaling Model of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 267-84, December.
  18. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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