Who Lobbies Whom? Electoral Systems and Organized Interests' Choice of Bureaucrats vs. Politicians in Japan
43 Pages Posted: 27 Sep 2007
Date Written: September 25, 2007
How do interest groups choose across different venues of lobbying to influence policy? Why do some interest groups lobby politicians and others lobby bureaucrats? In contrast to the existing approaches that view lobbying as one-sided action by organized interest in an effort to influence a policy, we theorize lobbying as an organized interests' effort to form and enforce a contract with policy-makers, politicians or bureaucrats. We argue that organizational structures of interest groups substantially affect their choice of lobbying strategies because they are associated with different ability to monitor and enforce contracts with policy-makers and punish them when they fail. Specifically, we demonstrate that whether organizational structures are centralized or decentralized accounts for a good part of the variations in their decisions to lobby politicians versus bureaucrats even after controlling for organization resources, issue areas, and sectors. The types of electoral system such as majoritarian and proportional, we further argue, affect the effectiveness of various instruments of monitoring and punishment (votes, political funds, and candidate endorsement) and hence interest groups' choice to lobby politicians or bureaucrats. We test these arguments with the case of a major democracy which recently went through an electoral reform from SNTV to MMM system without major partisan change, Japan. We use a unique longitudinal survey data on lobbying which spans two decades (1980, 1994, 2003), covers around 250 organized interest groups that encompasses various sectors and issue areas. The results lend strong support to our organizational structure argument and the effect of electoral reform on interest groups' choice of lobbying tactics.
Keywords: lobbying, politicians, bureaucrats, organizations, electoral systems, Japan
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