Informational Lobbying and Agenda Distortion
This paper challenges the prevailing view in the literature that informational lobbying is socially beneficial. Key to our analysis is the fact that policymakers are constrained on the number of issues they can address, which forces them to prioritize issues. Under reasonable conditions, interest groups advocating less-salient reforms produce information, inducing policymakers to prioritize those reforms instead of more-salient ones. Such distortion of the policy agenda reduces social welfare. Our story is consistent with empirical accounts of the lobbying process.
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