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Clueless Politicians

Listed author(s):
  • Christopher Cotton

    ()

    (Queen's University)

  • Cheng Li

    ()

    (Mississippi State University)

We develop a model of policymaking in which a politician decides how much expertise to acquire or how informed to become about issues before interest groups engage in monetary lobbying. For a range of issues, the policymaker prefers to remain clueless about the merits of reform, even when acquiring expertise or better information is costless. Such a strategy leads to intense lobbying competition and larger political contributions. We identify a novel benefit of campaign finance reform, showing how contribution limits decrease the incentives that policymakers have to remain uninformed or ignorant of the issues on which they vote.

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File URL: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/working_papers/papers/qed_wp_1341.pdf
File Function: First version 2016
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Paper provided by Queen's University, Department of Economics in its series Working Papers with number 1341.

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Length: 27 pages
Date of creation: Jan 2016
Handle: RePEc:qed:wpaper:1341
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Web page: http://qed.econ.queensu.ca/
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  1. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2015. "Grading Standards and Education Quality," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(2), pages 248-279, May.
  2. Matthias Dahm & Nicolás Porteiro, 2008. "Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 6(5), pages 1057-1077, 09.
  3. Emir Kamenica & Matthew Gentzkow, 2011. "Bayesian Persuasion," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 101(6), pages 2590-2615, October.
  4. Moscarini, Giuseppe & Ottaviani, Marco, 2001. "Price Competition for an Informed Buyer," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 101(2), pages 457-493, December.
  5. 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.
  6. Christopher Cotton & Arnaud Dellis, 2012. "Informational Lobbying and Agenda Distortion," Working Papers 2013-03, University of Miami, Department of Economics.
  7. Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1994. "Protection for Sale," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 84(4), pages 833-850, September.
  8. Thomas Stratmann, 2005. "Some talk: Money in politics. A (partial) review of the literature," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 135-156, July.
  9. Andrea Prat, 2002. "Campaign Advertising and Voter Welfare," Review of Economic Studies, Oxford University Press, vol. 69(4), pages 999-1017.
  10. Bennedsen, Morten & Feldmann, Sven E., 2006. "Informational lobbying and political contributions," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 90(4-5), pages 631-656, May.
  11. 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.
  12. Arye L. Hillman & John G. Riley, 1989. "Politically Contestable Rents And Transfers," Economics and Politics, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 1(1), pages 17-39, 03.
  13. 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.
  14. Raymond Riezman & John Douglas Wilson, 2013. "Political Reform and Trade Policy," World Scientific Book Chapters,in: International Trade Agreements and Political Economy, chapter 13, pages 201-224 World Scientific Publishing Co. Pte. Ltd..
  15. Prat, Andrea, 2002. "Campaign Spending with Office-Seeking Politicians, Rational Voters, and Multiple Lobbies," Journal of Economic Theory, Elsevier, vol. 103(1), pages 162-189, March.
  16. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Political Competition with Campaign Contributions and Informative Advertising," Journal of the European Economic Association, MIT Press, vol. 2(5), pages 772-804, 09.
  17. Anke Kessler, 1998. "The Value of Ignorance," RAND Journal of Economics, The RAND Corporation, vol. 29(2), pages 339-354, Summer.
  18. Austen-Smith, David, 1994. "Strategic Transmission of Costly Information," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 62(4), pages 955-963, July.
  19. Stephen Coate, 2004. "Pareto-Improving Campaign Finance Policy," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 94(3), pages 628-655, June.
  20. Drazen, Allan & Limao, Nuno & Stratmann, Thomas, 2007. "Political contribution caps and lobby formation: Theory and evidence," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 91(3-4), pages 723-754, April.
  21. Stratmann, Thomas, 1998. "The Market for Congressional Votes: Is Timing of Contributions Everything?," Journal of Law and Economics, University of Chicago Press, vol. 41(1), pages 85-113, April.
  22. Lohmann, Susanne, 1995. "Information, Access, and Contributions: A Signaling Model of Lobbying," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 85(3-4), pages 267-284, December.
  23. 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.
  24. Raphael Boleslavsky & Christopher Cotton, 2015. "Information and Extremism in Elections," American Economic Journal: Microeconomics, American Economic Association, vol. 7(1), pages 165-207, February.
  25. 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.
  26. Juan-JosÈ Ganuza & JosÈ S. Penalva, 2010. "Signal Orderings Based on Dispersion and the Supply of Private Information in Auctions," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 78(3), pages 1007-1030, 05.
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