Gleason Judd: Access and Lobbying in Legislatures

March 28, 2019

I study a model of legislative policymaking with interest groups. To lobby, groups must have access. Access provides opportunities to lobby particular legislators when they control the agenda. In equilibrium, persistent access creates a tradeoff. It changes legislature-wide expectations, thereby affecting which policies pass today. Thus, access to particular legislators can indirectly affect proposals by other legislators. These endogenous spillovers encourage access to some legislators but discourage access to others. Under broad conditions, groups forgo access to a range of more centrist legislators. In contrast, they are keen to access more extreme legislators. These results have implications for campaign finance and revolving door hiring. I also show that lobbying expenditures increase with several measures of legislature polarization. Expenditures can increase or decrease with access depending on the relative extremism of the group and targeted legislator.

Read the paper here: Access and Lobbying in Legislatures.