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The Effects of Interest Groups' Ideology on Their PAC and Lobbying Expenditures


  • McKay Amy

    (Georgia State University)


While the literature on political action committees (PACs) contributions to congressional campaigns is substantial, one key variable has been missing: the ideology of the PAC. Such a measure is needed to evaluate a normatively important yet unanswered question: to what extent do PACs give to candidates with whom they agree ideologically, as opposed to candidates they may want to influence after the election? This study shows that many interest groups preferences for an electoral strategy or an access strategy can be predicted by their left-right ideology and their level of ideological extremism. The analysis finds that more ideologically extreme groups and more liberal groups spend more money on PAC contributions relative to lobbying. Further, groups underlying left-right ideology is also highly predictive of their allocation of PAC contributions between the two partieseven controlling for group type.

Suggested Citation

  • McKay Amy, 2010. "The Effects of Interest Groups' Ideology on Their PAC and Lobbying Expenditures," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 12(2), pages 1-23, August.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:12:y:2010:i:2:n:4

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Rui J. P. de Figueiredo & Geoff Edwards, 2007. "Does Private Money Buy Public Policy? Campaign Contributions and Regulatory Outcomes in Telecommunications," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 16(3), pages 547-576, September.
    2. Lewis, Jeffrey B. & Poole, Keith T., 2004. "Measuring Bias and Uncertainty in Ideal Point Estimates via the Parametric Bootstrap," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 12(02), pages 105-127, March.
    3. Tripathi Micky & Ansolabehere Stephen & Jr James M. Snyder, 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, August.
    4. W. Welch, 1980. "The allocation of political monies: Economic interest groups," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 35(1), pages 97-120, January.
    5. Jackman, Simon, 2000. "Estimation and Inference Are Missing Data Problems: Unifying Social Science Statistics via Bayesian Simulation," Political Analysis, Cambridge University Press, vol. 8(04), pages 307-332, July.
    6. Magee, Christopher, 2002. "Do Political Action Committees Give Money to Candidates for Electoral or Influence Motives?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 112(3-4), pages 373-399, September.
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    8. Tripathi, Micky & Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M., 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(02), pages 131-155, August.
    9. Gelman, Andrew & Huang, Zaiying, 2008. "Estimating Incumbency Advantage and Its Variation, as an Example of a BeforeAfter Study," Journal of the American Statistical Association, American Statistical Association, vol. 103, pages 437-446, June.
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    Cited by:

    1. Yiran Chen & Hanming Fang, 2017. "Inferring the Ideological Affiliations of Political Committees via Financial Contributions Networks," NBER Working Papers 24130, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    2. repec:bpj:nonpfo:v:8:y:2017:i:1:p:91-110:n:3 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Lskavyan, Vahe, 2014. "Donor–recipient ideological differences and economic aid," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 123(3), pages 345-347.
    4. Clark Muntean Susan, 2011. "Corporate Independent Spending in the Post-BCRA to Pre-Citizens United Era," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 13(1), pages 1-39, April.
    5. Brown Richard S., 2016. "How do firms compete in the non-market? The process of political capability building," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 18(3), pages 263-295, October.
    6. Mason Dyana P., 2015. "Advocacy in Nonprofit Organizations: A Leadership Perspective," Nonprofit Policy Forum, De Gruyter, vol. 6(3), pages 297-324, November.

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