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A Simple Model of the Commercial Lobbying Industry

Listed author(s):
  • Groll, Thomas
  • Ellis, Christopher J.

In this paper we present a model of the behavior of commercial lobbying firms (such as the so-called K-Street lobbyists of Washington, D.C.). In contrast to classical special interest groups, commercial lobbying firms represent a variety of clients and are not directly affected by policy outcomes. They are hired by citizens, or groups of citizens, to advocate on their behalf to policymakers. In our analysis we address two basic questions; why do commercial lobbying firms exist, and what are the implications of their existence for social welfare? We answer the first part of this question by proposing that commercial lobbying firms possess a verification technology that allows them to improve the quality of information concerning the social desirability of policy proposals. This gives policymakers the incentive to allocate their scarce time to lobbying firms. Essentially it is this access to policymakers that lobbying firms sell to their clients. To address the question of social welfare we construct a simple general equilibrium model that includes commercial lobbying firms, and compare the equilibrium obtained under market provision of lobbying services to the first best optimum. We find that the market level of lobbying services can be socially either too large or too small, and characterize when each will be the case.

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Paper provided by University Library of Munich, Germany in its series MPRA Paper with number 36168.

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Date of creation: Jan 2012
Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:36168
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  2. Jordi Blanes i Vidal & Mirko Draca & Christian Fons-Rosen, 2012. "Revolving Door Lobbyists," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 102(7), pages 3731-3748, December.
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  4. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Informational Lobbying and Political Contributions," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-02, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  5. Groll, Thomas & Ellis, Christopher J., 2012. "A Simple Model of the Commercial Lobbying Industry," MPRA Paper 36168, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. Grossman, Gene & Helpman, Elhanan, 1993. "Protection for Sale," CEPR Discussion Papers 827, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  7. Bennedsen Morten & Feldmann Sven E., 2002. "Lobbying and Legislative Organization: The Effect of the Vote of Confidence Procedure," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-18, August.
  8. Marianne Bertrand & Matilde Bombardini & Francesco Trebbi, 2014. "Is It Whom You Know or What You Know? An Empirical Assessment of the Lobbying Process," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(12), pages 3885-3920, December.
  9. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2008. "Informational lobbying under the shadow of political pressure," Social Choice and Welfare, Springer;The Society for Social Choice and Welfare, vol. 30(4), pages 531-559, May.
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  11. Christopher Cotton, 2008. "Should We Tax or Cap Political Contributions? A Lobbying Model with Policy Favors and Access," Working Papers 0901, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  12. Sanford J Grossman & Oliver D Hart, 2001. "An Analysis of the Principal-Agent Problem," Levine's Working Paper Archive 391749000000000339, David K. Levine.
  13. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 2001. "Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 68(1), pages 67-82.
  14. Thomas Groll & Christopher J. Ellis, 2013. "Dynamic Commercial Lobbying," CESifo Working Paper Series 4114, CESifo Group Munich.
  15. 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.
  16. Laffont, Jean-Jacques & Tirole, Jean, 1990. "The Politics of Government Decision Making: Regulatory Institutions," Journal of Law, Economics and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 6(1), pages 1-31, Spring.
  17. Gromb, Denis & Martimort, David, 2007. "Collusion and the organization of delegated expertise," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 137(1), pages 271-299, November.
  18. Bengt Holmstrom, 1997. "Moral Hazard and Observability," Levine's Working Paper Archive 1205, David K. Levine.
  19. Morten Bennedsen & Sven E. Feldmann, 2000. "Lobbying Legislatures," CIE Discussion Papers 2000-04, University of Copenhagen. Department of Economics. Centre for Industrial Economics.
  20. Jean-Jacques LAFFONT & Jean TIROLE, 1990. "The Politics of Government Decision-Making : a Theory of Regulatory Capture," Cahiers de Recherches Economiques du Département d'Econométrie et d'Economie politique (DEEP) 9004, Université de Lausanne, Faculté des HEC, DEEP.
  21. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
  22. Krueger, Anne O, 1974. "The Political Economy of the Rent-Seeking Society," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 64(3), pages 291-303, June.
  23. Lohmann, Susanne, 1995. "Information, Access, and Contributions: A Signaling Model of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 267-284, December.
  24. Austen-Smith, David, 1994. "Strategic Transmission of Costly Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 955-963, July.
  25. Potters, Jan & van Winden, Frans, 1992. "Lobbying and Asymmetric Information," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 74(3), pages 269-292, October.
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