My Personal Interests In The News

I did my senior undergraduate thesis on one of the “Big Questions” in American interest group theory: Do votes attract contributions, or do contributions influence votes? My thesis basically followed the hypothesis of Richard Hall and Alan Deardorff that lobbying is a “legislative subsidy.”

We model lobbying not as exchange (vote buying) or persuasion (informative signaling) but as a form of legislative subsidy—–a matching grant of policy information, political intelligence, and legislative labor to the enterprises of strategically selected legislators. The proximate political objective of this strategy is not to change legislators’ minds but to assist natural allies in achieving their own, coincident objectives. The theory is simple in form, realistic in its principal assumptions, and counterintuitive in its main implications.Empirically, the model renders otherwise anomalous regularities comprehensible and predictable.

Now, someone seems to have written a book that makes much the same point: Our old friend Baumgartner, who I must have cited thirty times in the course of my thesis. His new book outlines the dynamics of lobbying, and I look forward to reading it.

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