Access Fees in Politics
This paper develops a game-theoretic model of lobbying in which a politician sells access to interest groups. The politician sets an access fee, or the minimum contribution necessary to secure access, and an interest group that pays this fee can share verifiable evidence in favor of its preferred policy. The more the politician knows about interest group evidence, the better able he is to identify and implement the welfare-maximizing policy. In equilibrium, a wealthy interest group must pay more for access than an otherwise similar poor group; and a group involved with an important issue must pay less than an otherwise similar group involved with a less-important issue. The politician sets higher-than-optimal access fees in order to increase contributions. A contribution limit can improve constituent welfare by lowering the price of access, which tends to result in a more-informed politician. However, a limit can also decrease the range of issues for which the politician is willing to sell access, thereby reducing politician information and constituent welfare. Although the optimal limit is binding for some issues, it is never optimal to ban contributions.
|Date of creation:||09 Jun 2008|
|Date of revision:|
|Publication status:||Forthcoming: Working Paper|
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