Research

Working Papers

Abstract We highlight how the political and institutional environment in which lobbying takes place determines which special interest groups lobby which policymakers directly, and which employ for-profit intermediaries. We show that special interests affected by policy issues that frequently receive high political salience lobby policymakers directly, while those that rarely receive high political salience must employ "hired guns." Special interests that lobby on issues that frequently experience high political salience may be incentivized to truthfully reveal private, policy relevant, information to policymakers via the promise of a high probability of future political access. For-profit intermediaries are always in the "informational lobbying market" and can be easily incentivized by policymakers to truthfully reveal private information. We also show that "insecure" policymakers, those in vulnerable seats, tend to be lobbied by professional intermediaries. Also, policymakers that are more time constrained tend to rely more on professional intermediaries for policy relevant information.

Current version: October 2019.

Previous working paper: CESifo #7367.

revise and resubmit - European Journal of Political Economy

Abstract We analyze the institutional determinants of U.S. financial market regulation with a general model of the policy-making process in which legislators delegate authority to regulate financial risk at both the firm and systemic levels. The model explains changes in U.S. financial regulation leading up to the financial crisis. We test the predictions of the general model with a novel, comprehensive data set of financial regulatory laws enacted specifically between 1950 and 2009. The theoretical and empirical analysis finds that political factors impact Congress' decision to delegate regulatory authority to executive agencies, which in turn impacts the stringency of financial market regulation.

Current version: February 2019.

Supplemental .nb files: upon request.

Abstract We study lobbying in a setting in which decision-makers share resources in a network. Two opposing interest groups choose which decision-maker they want to target with their resource provision, and their decision depends on the decision-makers' ideologies as well as the network structure. We characterize the lobbying strategies in various network settings and show that a higher resource flow as well as homophily reinforce decision-makers' ideological bias. We highlight that competing lobbyists' efforts do not neutralize each other and their payoffs and competitive advantages depend on the networks they face. Our findings are consistent with empirically established lobbying activities.

Current version: August 2016.

Supplemental: Supplemental Appendix

Select Works in Progress

Big-Talk Free Equilibria with Christopher J. Ellis.

Lobbying and Delegation in U.S. Financial Regulation with Sharyn O'Halloran.

Who Manipulates Whom with Strategic Lobbying Subsidies with Christopher J. Ellis.