Lobbying, Inside and Out: How Special Interest Groups Influence Policy Choices

40 Pages Posted: 17 Dec 2012 Last revised: 12 Dec 2020

See all articles by Stephane Wolton

Stephane Wolton

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government

Date Written: March 29, 2019

Abstract

Special interest groups (SIGs) have multiple channels of influence: contributing to decision-makers or providing them with information (henceforth, inside lobbying) and grassroots mobilizations or advertising their position to voters (henceforth, outside lobbying). How do these channels interact? I study a signaling model in which a politician chooses the scope of a reform, two SIGs, one defending the status quo, the other pushing for change, use inside lobbying to bias the content of the proposed policy and outside lobbying to affect its fate. In equilibrium, inside lobbying expenditures are associated with policy compromises, a mark of influence of the SIG supportive of the status quo; meanwhile, outside lobbying activities are associated with comprehensive reforms, a sign of pro-change SIG power. I discuss how these findings can potentially inform the empirical research on SIG influence.

Keywords: special interest group, inside lobbying, outside lobbying, power, threat, promise

JEL Classification: D70, D72, D74, D78, D82

Suggested Citation

Wolton, Stephane, Lobbying, Inside and Out: How Special Interest Groups Influence Policy Choices (March 29, 2019). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2190685 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2190685

Stephane Wolton (Contact Author)

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Department of Government ( email )

Houghton Street
London, WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom

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