The Two Worlds of Lobbying: The Core-Periphery Structure of the Interest Group System

40 Pages Posted: 6 Apr 2013  

Tim LaPira

James Madison University

Herschel F. Thomas III

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government

Frank Baumgartner

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill

Date Written: January 12, 2012

Abstract

For decades, political scientists have had two divergent views on lobbyists in Washington. On the one hand they lament the privileged access of a few powerful groups in niches, and on the other they point to highly visible advocacy campaigns where hundreds of lobbyists compete for policymakers’ attention. To resolve this paradox, we conceive the interest group system as a complex network of lobbyists that accommodates both observations. If lobbyists’ decisions to participate in policy domains are interdependent, then we should simultaneously observe niche lobbying in many domains and disproportionately high levels of lobbying in a select few. Using a dataset of 293,631 disclosure reports, we find an extreme-value distribution of lobbying activities and uncover two distinct worlds of lobbying: one at the core where well-connected revolving door lobbyists represent a greater diversity of interests, and one at the periphery where conventional lobbyists operate in relative obscurity.

Suggested Citation

LaPira, Tim and Thomas, Herschel F. and Baumgartner, Frank, The Two Worlds of Lobbying: The Core-Periphery Structure of the Interest Group System (January 12, 2012). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2245065 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.2245065

Timothy M. LaPira (Contact Author)

James Madison University ( email )

91 E Grace St
MSC 7705
Harrisonburg, VA 22807
United States
5405685309 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.jmu.edu/polisci/faculty_lapira.shtml

Herschel F. Thomas III

University of Texas at Austin - Department of Government ( email )

College of Liberal Arts
1 University Station A1800
Austin, TX 78712
United States

Frank Baumgartner

University of North Carolina (UNC) at Chapel Hill ( email )

102 Ridge Road
Chapel Hill, NC NC 27514
United States

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