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On Buying Legislatures

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  • James M. Snyder

Abstract

This paper analyzes a simple spatial voting model that includes lobbyists who are able to buy votes on bills to change the status quo. The key results are: (i) if lobbyists can discriminate across legislators when buying votes, then they will pay the largest bribes to legislators who are slightly opposed to the proposed change, rather than to legislators who strongly support or strongly oppose the change; (ii) equilibrium policies exist, and with quadratic preferences these equilibria always lie between the average of the lobbyists' ideal points and the median of the legislators' ideal points; and (iii) "moderate" lobbyists, whose positions on a policy issue are close to the median of the legislators' ideal points, will prefer the issue to be salient, while more extreme lobbyists will generally prefer the issue to be obscure. Copyright 1991 Blackwell Publishers Ltd..

Suggested Citation

  • James M. Snyder, 1991. "On Buying Legislatures," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 3(2), pages 93-109, July.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:ecopol:v:3:y:1991:i:2:p:93-109
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    1. Robert C. Feenstra & Jagdish N. Bhagwati, 1982. "Tariff Seeking and the Efficient Tariff," NBER Chapters,in: Import Competition and Response, pages 245-262 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. Lewis, Tracy R. & Feenstra, Robert & Ware, Roger, 1989. "Eliminating price supports : A political economy perspective," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 40(2), pages 159-185, November.
    3. Cassing, James H. & Hillman, Arye L., 1985. "Political influence motives and the choice between tariffs and quotas," Journal of International Economics, Elsevier, vol. 19(3-4), pages 279-290, November.
    4. Robert C. Feenstra & Tracy R. Lewis, 1991. "Negotiated Trade Restrictions with Private Political Pressure," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 106(4), pages 1287-1307.
    5. Mayer, Wolfgang, 1984. "Endogenous Tariff Formation," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 74(5), pages 970-985, December.
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