Informational Lobbying and Legislative Voting

38 Pages Posted: 9 Mar 2014 Last revised: 31 Jan 2016

See all articles by Keith E. Schnakenberg

Keith E. Schnakenberg

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science

Date Written: February 20, 2015


In this article I analyze a model of interest group influence on legislative voting through information transmission. The model shows how interest groups may manipulate voting coalitions to their advantage by crafting different messages to target different winning coalitions. Furthermore, if access to legislators is costly, the interest groups prefer to coordinate with allied legislators by providing them with information that helps them to persuade less sympathetic legislators. The model reconciles informational theories of lobbying with empirical evidence suggesting that interest groups predominantly lobby those who already agree with them. The model also makes new predictions about the welfare effects of interest group influence: from an ex ante perspective, informational lobbying negatively effects the welfare of legislators. The results highlight the need for more theories of persuasion that take collective choice institutions into account.

The appendices for this paper are available at the following URL:

Keywords: cheap talk, lobbying, social choice

JEL Classification: D70, D71, D72, D78, D80, D82, D83

Suggested Citation

Schnakenberg, Keith E., Informational Lobbying and Legislative Voting (February 20, 2015). Available at SSRN: or

Keith E. Schnakenberg (Contact Author)

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science ( email )

One Brookings Drive
One Brookings Drive
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

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