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Lobbying Legislatures

  • Morten Bennedsen

    (Copenhagen Business School)

  • Sven E. Feldmann

    (University of Chicago)

We analyze informational lobbying in the context of multi-member legislatures. We show that a single decision maker and a decentralized majoritarian legislature provide widely different incentives for interest groups to acquire and transmit policy relevant information. The paper also shows a difference in the opportunity to affect policy through lobbying between a parliamentary legislature and a legislature low voting cohesion, such as the U.S. Congress. We show that the incentives to lobby a parliamentary legislature are much lower than to lobby Congress. The results provide a rationale for why lobby groups are more active in the U.S. Congress. The key institutional feature to explain the different behavior of lobby groups is the vote of confidence procedure, which creates voting cohesion in a parliamentary system across policy issues. We show that the flexibility of creating majorities in the Congress creates an incentive for interest groups to play an active role in the design of policy in the congressional system, while the voting cohesion in the parliamentary system dissuades interest group's incentive to engage in information provision.

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Paper provided by University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics in its series CIE Discussion Papers with number 2000-04.

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Length: 34 pages
Date of creation: Jun 2000
Date of revision:
Publication status: Published in: Journal of Political Economy. August 2002; 110(4): 919-46
Handle: RePEc:kud:kuieci:2000-04
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  1. Helpman, E. & Persson, T., 1998. "Lobbying and Legislative Bargaining," Papers 08-98, Tel Aviv.
  2. Weingast, Barry R & Shepsle, Kenneth A & Johnsen, Christopher, 1981. "The Political Economy of Benefits and Costs: A Neoclassical Approach to Distributive Politics," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 89(4), pages 642-64, August.
  3. Persson, Torsten, 1998. "Economic Policy and Special Interest Politics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 310-27, March.
  4. Laffont, J.-J., 1999. "Political Economy, Information and Incentives," Papers 99.516, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  5. Stratmann, Thomas, 1992. "Are Contributions Rational? Untangling Strategies of Political Action Committees," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 100(3), pages 647-64, June.
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