Social Choice and Welfare

, Volume 30, Issue 4, pp 531–559 | Cite as

Informational lobbying under the shadow of political pressure

  • Matthias Dahm
  • Nicolás Porteiro
Original Paper


We examine the incentives of an interest group to provide verifiable policy-relevant information to a political decision-maker and to exert political pressure on her. In our view information provision is a risky attempt to affect the politician’s beliefs about the desirability of the lobby’s objective. The circumstances under which political pressure can be applied specify the lobby’s valuation of different beliefs of the politician and, thus, her attitude toward risk. We identify several factors that induce risk proclivity (and thus information provision), which allows to explain the stylized fact that lobbies engage both in information provision and political pressure. Moreover, our approach gives a novel explanation for the fact that interest groups often try to provide information credibly. We finally study the extent to which this preference for credibility is robust and identify some instances in which lobbies may prefer to strategically withhold information.


Interest Group Information Provision Political Pressure Risk Proclivity Commitment Device 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.


  1. Aghion P, Tirole J (1997) Formal and real authority in organizations. J Polit Econ 105:1–29CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  2. Annenberg Public Policy Center (2005) Legislative Issue Advertising in the 108th Congress. University of Pennsylvania, available at Scholar
  3. Austen-Smith D (1995) Campaign contributions and access. Am Polit Sci Rev 89:566–81CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Austen-Smith D (1997) Interest groups: money, information, and influence. In: Perspectives on public choice. a handbook. Mueller DC (ed) Cambridge University Press, Cambridge 296–320Google Scholar
  5. Austen-Smith D (1998) Allocating access for information and contributions. J Law Econ Organ 14(2): 277–303CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  6. Austen-Smith D, Wright JR (1992) Competitive lobbying for a legislator’s vote. Soc Choice Welfare 9: 229–257CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Baker S, Mezzetti C (2005) Disclosure as a strategy in the patent race. J Law Econ 48:173–194CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  8. Baye MR, Dan K, de Vries CG (1993) Rigging the lobbying process: an application of the all-pay auction. Am Econ Rev 83(1):289–294Google Scholar
  9. Bennedsen M, Feldmann S (2006) Informational lobbying and political contributions. J Public Econ 90(4):631–656CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  10. Bennedsen M, Feldmann S (2002) Lobbying legislatures. J Polit Econ 110(4):919–946CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  11. Berry JM (1997) The interest group society. 3rd ed. Longman, New YorkGoogle Scholar
  12. Bulow JI, Geanakolos JD, Klemperer PD (1985) Multimarket oligopoly: strategic substitutes and complements. J Polit Econ 93(3):488–511CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  13. Cannon CP et al (2004) Intensive versus moderate lipid lowering with statins after acute coronary syndromes. N Engl J Med 350(15):1495–1504CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  14. Carpenter DP (2004) The political economy of FDA drug review: processing, politics, and lessons for policy. Health Affairs 23(1):52–63CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Che Y-K, Gale IL (1998) Caps on political lobbying. Am Econ Rev 88(3):643–651Google Scholar
  16. Crawford V, Sobel J (1982) Strategic information transmission. Econometrica 50:105–133Google Scholar
  17. Dahm M, Porteiro N (2006) Side-effects of campaign finance reform. Working Papers Econ 06.15, Universidad Pablo de OlavideGoogle Scholar
  18. EFPIA (2005) Joint position on the disclosure of clinical trial information via clinical trial registries and databases. January, available at Scholar
  19. Grossmann GM, Helpman E (2001) Special interest politics. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  20. ICMJE (2004) Clinical trial registration: a statement from the International Committee of Medical Journal Editors. N Engl J Med 351(12). Available at Scholar
  21. Laffont J-J (1999) Political economy, information and incentives. Presidential Address. Eur Econ Rev 43:649–669Google Scholar
  22. Laffont J-J, Tirole J (1993) A theory of incentives in procurement and regulation. The MIT Press, CambridgeGoogle Scholar
  23. Lohmann S (1995a) Information, access, and contributions: a signaling model of lobbying. Public Choice 85(3–4):267–84CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  24. Lohmann S (1995b) A signaling model of competitive political pressures. Econ Polit 5:181–206CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  25. Matějka M, Sander O, de Waegenaere A (2002) The effectiveness of caps on political lobbying. CentER Discussion Paper No. 2002–44, Tilburg UniversityGoogle Scholar
  26. Meadows M (2002) The FDA’s drug review process: Ensuring drugs are safe and effective. FDA Consumer magazine. July-August, available at Scholar
  27. Milgrom P (1981) Good news and bad news: representation theorems and applications. Bell J Econ 12: 380–391CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  28. Shin HS (2003) Disclosures and asset returns. Econometrica 71(1):105–133CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  29. Schlozman KL, Tierney JT (1986) Organized interests and American Democracy. New York: Harper and RowGoogle Scholar
  30. Sloof R, van Winden F (2000) Show them your teeth first! a game-theoretic analysis of lobbying and pressure. Public Choice 104:81–120CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  31. Snyder JM Jr (1991) On buying legislatures. Econ Polit 2(3):93–109CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  32. Stigler GJ (1971) The theory of economic regulation. Bell J Econ 2(1):3–21CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  33. Tullock G (1980) Efficient rent seeking. In: Toward a theory of the rentseeking society. Buchanan J, Tollison R, Tullock G (eds), A&M University Press, College Station pp 97–112Google Scholar
  34. Wright JR (1996) Interest groups and congress: lobbying, contributions, and Influence. Allyn & Bacon, BostonGoogle Scholar
  35. Yu Z (2005) Environmental protection: a theory of direct and indirect competition for influence. Rev Econ Stud 72:269–286CrossRefGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag 2007

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Departamento de EconomíaUniversitat Rovira i VirgiliReus TarragonaSpain
  2. 2.Departamento de Economía, Met. Cuantitativos e Ha Económica, Area de Análisis EconómicoUniversidad Pablo de OlavideSevillaSpain

Personalised recommendations