Shadow Lobbyists

57 Pages Posted: 9 Feb 2023

See all articles by Rocco D'Este

Rocco D'Este

University of Sussex

Mirko Draca

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP); Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics; University of Warwick - Department of Economics

Christian Fons-Rosen

University of California, Merced

Abstract

Special interest influence via lobbying is increasingly controversial and legislative efforts to deal with this issue have centred on the principle of transparency. In this paper we evaluate the effectiveness of the current regulatory framework provided by the US Lobbying Disclosure Act (LDA). Specifically, we study the role of ex-Congressional officials who join US lobbying firms in positions that could be related to lobbying activity but without officially registering as lobbyists themselves. We find that firm lobbying revenues increase significantly when these potential 'shadow lobbyists' join, with effects in the range of 10-20%. This shadow lobbyist revenue effect is comparable to the effect of a registered lobbyist at the median of the industry skill distribution. As such, it is challenging to reconcile the measured shadow lobbyist effect with the 20% working time threshold for registering as a lobbyist. Based on our estimates, the unaccounted for contributions of unregistered lobbyists can be valued at $149 million USD in revenue terms and this effect is concentrated within the industry's largest and most active firms.

Keywords: lobbying, revolving door, political money

JEL Classification: D72

Suggested Citation

D'Este, Rocco and Draca, Mirko and Fons-Rosen, Christian, Shadow Lobbyists. IZA Discussion Paper No. 15918, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=4352343 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.4352343

Rocco D'Este (Contact Author)

University of Sussex

Sussex House
Falmer
Brighton, BNI 9RH
United Kingdom

Mirko Draca

London School of Economics & Political Science (LSE) - Centre for Economic Performance (CEP) ( email )

Houghton Street
London WC2A 2AE
United Kingdom
+20 7955 7010 (Phone)

Harvard University - Edmond J. Safra Center for Ethics ( email )

124 Mount Auburn Street
Suite 520N
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

University of Warwick - Department of Economics ( email )

Coventry CV4 7AL
United Kingdom

Christian Fons-Rosen

University of California, Merced ( email )

P.O. Box 2039
Merced, CA 95344
United States

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