Influence Through Intimidation: Evidence from Business Lobbying and the Regulatory Process

33 Pages Posted: 14 Oct 2020 Last revised: 6 Jan 2021

See all articles by Alex Acs

Alex Acs

Department of Politics, Princeton University

Cary Coglianese

University of Pennsylvania Law School

Date Written: October 10, 2020

Abstract

Interest group influence in the policy process is often assumed to occur through a mechanism of exchange, persuasion, or subsidy. Here, we explore how business groups may also exert influence by intimidating policymakers—a form of persuasion, but one based not on the provision of policy information but of political information. We develop a theory where a business firm lobbies a regulator to communicate political information about its capacity to commit to future influence-seeking activities that would sanction the regulator. The regulator assesses the credibility of this message by evaluating the firm’s commitment to lobbying. Guided by our theory, we present evidence consistent with expectations that intimidation can shape regulatory outcomes to the advantage of certain firms, both through a chilling effect, where lobbying derails nascent regulatory plans, as well as a retreating effect, where opposition to published proposals leads to their withdrawal.

Keywords: Political economy, administrative law, empirical legal studies, government regulation, regulatory agencies, bureaucracy, interest group influence, business lobbying, public policy, rulemaking, information, game theory, signaling, incentives, politics, power

JEL Classification: D72, D73, D78

Suggested Citation

Acs, Alex and Coglianese, Cary, Influence Through Intimidation: Evidence from Business Lobbying and the Regulatory Process (October 10, 2020). U of Penn Law School, Public Law Research Paper No. 20-40, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3710856

Alex Acs

Department of Politics, Princeton University ( email )

Corwin Hall
Princeton, NJ 08544-1012
United States

Cary Coglianese (Contact Author)

University of Pennsylvania Law School ( email )

3501 Sansom Street
Philadelphia, PA 19104
United States
215-898-6867 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://www.law.upenn.edu/coglianese

Do you have a job opening that you would like to promote on SSRN?

Paper statistics

Downloads
60
Abstract Views
310
rank
412,438
PlumX Metrics