Do Interest Groups Compete?
This paper conducts a test of the hypothesis that interest groups compete strategically for influence with a policy-making agency. It adapts econometric methodology from the empirical industrial organization literature that was designed to work with discrete game-theoretic models, and uses data on whether or not supporting and opposing interest groups submitted comments to the Fish and Wildlife Service about each of 173 proposals to add new species to the endangered species list. The results imply that groups do respond to variations in the expected costs and benefits of a listing when deciding whether to pressure the agency. There is no support, however, for the hypothesis that the levels of pressure exerted by the groups emerge from the Nash equilibrium of games with simultaneous moves and perfect information.
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