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Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy

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  • 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)

Abstract

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.

Suggested Citation

  • Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2004. "Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy," Working Papers 2004-18, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy.
  • Handle: RePEc:iuk:wpaper:2004-18
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. repec:cup:apsrev:v:87:y:1993:i:02:p:319-333_09 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. 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.
    3. 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.
    4. 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.
    5. Robert Aumann & Adam Brandenburger, 2014. "Epistemic Conditions for Nash Equilibrium," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: The Language of Game Theory Putting Epistemics into the Mathematics of Games, chapter 5, pages 113-136 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
    6. 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.
    7. 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, March.
    8. 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.
    9. Crawford, Vincent P & Sobel, Joel, 1982. "Strategic Information Transmission," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 50(6), pages 1431-1451, November.
    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, January.
    11. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
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    Cited by:

    1. Sébastien Mena & Daniel Waeger, 2014. "Activism for Corporate Responsibility: Conceptualizing Private Regulation Opportunity Structures," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 51(7), pages 1091-1117, November.
    2. Charles Cho & Martin Martens & Hakkyun Kim & Michelle Rodrigue, 2011. "Astroturfing Global Warming: It Isn’t Always Greener on the Other Side of the Fence," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 104(4), pages 571-587, December.
    3. Jean-Philippe BONARDI & Olivier CADOT & Lionel COTTIER, 2016. "Extremists into Truth-tellers: Information Aggregation under Asymmetric Preferences," Working Papers P149, FERDI.
    4. Santiago Urbiztondo & Jean‐Philippe Bonardi & Bertrand V. Quélin, 2013. "International Expansion, Diversification and Regulated Firm Nonmarket Strategy," Managerial and Decision Economics, John Wiley & Sons, Ltd., vol. 34(6), pages 379-396, September.
    5. Allard Made, 2014. "Information Provision by Interest Groups," Environmental & Resource Economics, Springer;European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 58(4), pages 649-664, August.
    6. Bonardi, Jean-Philippe, 2008. "The internal limits to firms' nonmarket activities," MPRA Paper 14500, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    7. Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline & Thomas P. Lyon, 2016. "Merchants of Doubt: Corporate Political Influence when Expert Credibility is Uncertain," CESifo Working Paper Series 6165, CESifo Group Munich.
    8. Lawton, Thomas & Rajwani, Tazeeb & Doh, Jonathan, 2013. "The antecedents of political capabilities: A study of ownership, cross-border activity and organization at legacy airlines in a deregulatory context," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(1), pages 228-242.
    9. Nicolas Dahan & Jonathan Doh & Jonathan Raelin, 2015. "Pivoting the Role of Government in the Business and Society Interface: A Stakeholder Perspective," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 131(3), pages 665-680, October.
    10. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2008. "Corporate Social Responsibility and the Environment: A Theoretical Perspective," Review of Environmental Economics and Policy, Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, vol. 2(2), pages 240-260, Summer.
    11. Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2010. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 100(5), pages 2361-2382, December.
      • Archishman Chakraborty & Rick Harbaugh, 2006. "Persuasion by Cheap Talk," Working Papers 2006-10, Indiana University, Kelley School of Business, Department of Business Economics and Public Policy, revised Oct 2009.
    12. Thomas P. Lyon & John W. Maxwell, 2011. "Greenwash: Corporate Environmental Disclosure under Threat of Audit," Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 20(1), pages 3-41, March.

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