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Lobbyists as Gatekeepers: Theory and Evidence

Hirsch, Alexander V. and Kang, Karam and Montagnes, B. Pablo and You, Hye Young (2021) Lobbyists as Gatekeepers: Theory and Evidence. Social Science Working Paper, 1454. California Institute of Technology , Pasadena, CA.

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Lobbyists are omnipresent in the policymaking process, but the value that they bring to both clients and politicians remains poorly understood. We develop a model in which a lobbyist’s value derives from his ability to selectively screen which clients he brings to a politician, thereby earning the politician’s trust and preferential treatment for his clients. Lobbyists face a dilemma, as their ability to screen also increases their value to special interests, and the prices they can charge. A lobbyist’s profit motive undermines his ability to solve this dilemma, but an interest in policy outcomes—due either to a political ideology or a personal connection—enhances it, which paradoxically increases his profits. Using a unique dataset from reports mandated by the Foreign Agents Registration Act, we find that lobbyists become more selective when they are more ideologically aligned with politicians, consistent with our prediction.

Item Type:Report or Paper (Working Paper)
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URLURL TypeDescription version "The Lobbyist’s Dilemma: Gatekeeping and the Profit Motive" (2015)
Alternate Title:The Lobbyist’s Dilemma: Gatekeeping and the Profit Motive (2015)
Additional Information:We are thankful for suggestions and comments from Gleason Judd, Sergio Montero, and participants at Lobbying and Institutional Performance Conference at Princeton, and Conference in Applied Methods for Political Science at the University of Rochester.
Group:Social Science Working Papers
Series Name:Social Science Working Paper
Issue or Number:1454
Record Number:CaltechAUTHORS:20190506-152124696
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Usage Policy:No commercial reproduction, distribution, display or performance rights in this work are provided.
ID Code:95265
Deposited By: Tony Diaz
Deposited On:06 May 2019 22:26
Last Modified:20 Feb 2021 00:21

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