Do Private Interests Influence Public Science? Lobbying, Earmarks, and Federal Funding for Biomedical Research
New York University (NYU) - Leonard N. Stern School of Business
Bhaven N. Sampat
Columbia University - Mailman School of Public Health
January 7, 2014
Lobbying is an important non-market strategy pursued by private groups to influence public policy. What drives lobbying and when does it succeed? We study these questions in the context of lobbying by advocacy groups related to research on rare diseases in the U.S. We find that advocacy groups intensify their lobbying in response to disease-related deaths. Lobbying appears to mobilize political support, in the form of Congressional “soft earmarks” for the diseases, and is more likely to be effective for diseases associated with more scientific opportunity. The National Institutes of Health (NIH), the primary federal agency in charge of biomedical research, responds to Congressional soft earmarks through special grant mechanisms that steer funding towards particular fields. Thus, lobbying responds to disease burden, and appears to influence public funding by communicating information about scientific opportunity to policy makers.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 48
Keywords: Lobbying, Special Interest Groups, National Institutes of Health, R&D
JEL Classification: O30, D72, P16working papers series
Date posted: November 23, 2011 ; Last revised: February 22, 2014
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