Is U.S. Federal Lobbying More About Nefarious Corruption or Benign Industry-Information Provision? Evidence from Foreign-Firm Lobbying in the U.S.

Posted: 10 Dec 2018

See all articles by Jin Hyung Kim

Jin Hyung Kim

George Washington University

Jordan I. Siegel

University of Michigan

Date Written: November 16, 2018

Abstract

Prior literature is at an impasse between those studies arguing that U.S.-style legal corporate lobbying is primarily a conduit for corruption and other studies that corporate lobbying in the U.S. is primarily about benign industry-information provision to policy-makers. A prior study of Fisman and Miguel (2007) demonstrated how home-country corruption is a robust predictor of variation in corrupt behavior by foreign diplomats in the United States. In this study, using a previously rarely utilized data set on U.S. federal lobbying, we ask whether home-country corruption is a robust predictor of U.S.-style legal corporate lobbying behavior by foreign firms in the United States. We find that, among foreign companies doing U.S.-style legal lobbying with mandated disclosure in the U.S., most lobbying expenditures are carried out by firms originating from the least corrupt countries. We also find that foreign companies originating from the most corrupt countries engaged in far less U.S. lobbying expenditures. We rule out a number of alternative explanations for this puzzling, counter-intuitive set of findings. Overall, the results are consistent with the idea that U.S.-style legal corporate lobbying is relatively more about benign industry-information provision to policy-makers than about nefarious corruption. Other channels still could remain for companies from the most corrupt countries to engage in nefarious corruption in the United States.

Keywords: Corruption, lobbying, institutions

Suggested Citation

Kim, Jin Hyung and Siegel, Jordan I., Is U.S. Federal Lobbying More About Nefarious Corruption or Benign Industry-Information Provision? Evidence from Foreign-Firm Lobbying in the U.S. (November 16, 2018). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3285615

Jin Hyung Kim (Contact Author)

George Washington University ( email )

2201 G Street NW
Funger 401-C
Washington, DC 20052
United States

Jordan I. Siegel

University of Michigan ( email )

Ann Arbor, MI
United States

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