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Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy

  • Thomas P. Lyon

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

  • John W. Maxwell

    (Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, Indiana University Kelley School of Business)

We study three corporate nonmarket strategies designed to influence the lobbying behavior of other special interest groups: (1) astroturf, in which the firm covertly subsidizes a group with similiar views to lobby when it normally would not; (2) the bear hug, in which the firm overtly pays a group to alter its lobbying activitives; and (3) self-regulation, in which the firm voluntarily limits the potential social harm from its activities. All three strategies reduce the informativeness of lobbying, and all reduce the payoff of the public decision-maker. We show that the decision-maker would benefit by requiring the public disclosure of funds but that the availability of alternative strategies limits the impact of such a policy.

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Paper provided by Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy in its series Working Papers with number 2004-18.

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Date of creation: 2004
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in Journal of Economics and Management Strategy, 2004
Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2004-18
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  1. Maxwell, John W & Lyon, Thomas P & Hackett, Steven C, 2000. "Self-Regulation and Social Welfare: The Political Economy of Corporate Environmentalism," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 43(2), pages 583-617, October.
  2. Aumann, Robert & Brandenburger, Adam, 1995. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 63(5), pages 1161-80, September.
  3. repec:tpr:qjecon:v:98:y:1983:i:3:p:371-400 is not listed on IDEAS
  4. David P. Baron, 2001. "Private Politics, Corporate Social Responsibility, and Integrated Strategy," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 10(1), pages 7-45, 03.
  5. V. Crawford & J. Sobel, 2010. "Strategic Information Transmission," Levine's Working Paper Archive 544, David K. Levine.
  6. Bikhchandani, Sushil & Hirshleifer, David & Welch, Ivo, 1992. "A Theory of Fads, Fashion, Custom, and Cultural Change in Informational Cascades," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(5), pages 992-1026, October.
  7. Drew Fudenberg & Jean Tirole, 1986. "A "Signal-Jamming" Theory of Predation," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(3), pages 366-376, Autumn.
  8. Paul Milgrom & John Roberts, 1986. "Relying on the Information of Interested Parties," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 17(1), pages 18-32, Spring.
  9. Lyon, Thomas P. & Maxwell, John W., 2003. "Self-regulation, taxation and public voluntary environmental agreements," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 87(7-8), pages 1453-1486, August.
  10. Livio D. DeSimone & Frank Popoff, 2000. "Eco-Efficiency: The Business Link to Sustainable Development," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262541092, June.
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