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Competing for Attention

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  • Cotton, Christopher

Abstract

We develop a model of lobbying in which a time and resource constrained policymaker first chooses which policy proposals to learn about, before choosing which to implement. The policymaker reviews the proposals of the interest groups who provide the highest contributions. We study how policy outcomes and contributions depend on policymaker constraints and the design of the "Contest for Attention." Among other results, awarding attention to the highest contributors generally guarantees the first best policy outcome. It can also lead to the highest possible contributions, suggesting that a policymaker may not need to sacrifice policy in order to maximize contributions.

Suggested Citation

  • Cotton, Christopher, 2015. "Competing for Attention," MPRA Paper 65715, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:65715
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Péter Eső & Balázs Szentes, 2007. "Optimal Information Disclosure in Auctions and the Handicap Auction," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 74(3), pages 705-731.
    2. 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.
    3. Christopher S. Cotton & Arnaud Déllis, 2016. "Informational Lobbying and Agenda Distortion," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 32(4), pages 762-793.
    4. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
    5. Baye, Michael R & Kovenock, Dan & de Vries, Casper G, 1993. "Rigging the Lobbying Process: An Application of the All-Pay Auction," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 83(1), pages 289-294, March.
    6. Tripathi Micky & Ansolabehere Stephen & Jr James M. Snyder, 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 4(2), pages 1-26, August.
    7. Bennedsen, Morten & Feldmann, Sven E., 2006. "Informational lobbying and political contributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 631-656, May.
    8. Cotton, Christopher, 2009. "Should we tax or cap political contributions? A lobbying model with policy favors and access," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 831-842, August.
    9. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, March.
    10. Christopher Cotton, 2013. "Submission Fees and Response Times in Academic Publishing," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 103(1), pages 501-509, February.
    11. Kirkegaard, René, 2012. "Favoritism in asymmetric contests: Head starts and handicaps," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 76(1), pages 226-248.
    12. Richard L. Fullerton & R. Preston McAfee, 1999. "Auctioning Entry into Tournaments," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 107(3), pages 573-605, June.
    13. Lohmann, Susanne, 1995. "Information, Access, and Contributions: A Signaling Model of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 267-284, December.
    14. Hall, Richard L. & Wayman, Frank W., 1990. "Buying Time: Moneyed Interests and the Mobilization of Bias in Congressional Committees," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 84(3), pages 797-820, September.
    15. Austen-Smith, David, 1998. "Allocating Access for Information and Contributions," Journal of Law, Economics, and Organization, Oxford University Press, vol. 14(2), pages 277-303, October.
    16. Christopher Cotton, 2010. "Pay-to-Play Politics: Informational lobbying and campaign finance reform when contributions buy access," Working Papers 2010-22, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
    17. Levy, Gilat & Razin, Ronny, 2013. "Dynamic legislative decision making when interest groups control the agenda," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 148(5), pages 1862-1890.
    18. Austen-Smith, David, 1995. "Campaign Contributions and Access," American Political Science Review, Cambridge University Press, vol. 89(3), pages 566-581, September.
    19. Tripathi, Micky & Ansolabehere, Stephen & Snyder, James M., 2002. "Are PAC Contributions and Lobbying Linked? New Evidence from the 1995 Lobby Disclosure Act," Business and Politics, Cambridge University Press, vol. 4(2), pages 131-155, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Boleslavsky, Raphael & Lewis, Tracy R., 2016. "Evolving influence: Mitigating extreme conflicts of interest in advisory relationships," Games and Economic Behavior, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 110-134.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    All-pay auction; contest; signaling; handicapped contest; political access; lobbying;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D44 - Microeconomics - - Market Structure, Pricing, and Design - - - Auctions
    • D72 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Political Processes: Rent-seeking, Lobbying, Elections, Legislatures, and Voting Behavior
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • D82 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty - - - Asymmetric and Private Information; Mechanism Design

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