Jump to ContentJump to Main Navigation
Show Summary Details
In This Section

The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy

Editor-in-Chief: Jürges, Hendrik / Ludwig, Sandra

Ed. by Auriol , Emmanuelle / Brunner, Johann / Fleck, Robert / Mendola, Mariapia / Requate, Till / Schirle, Tammy / de Vries, Frans / Zulehner, Christine

4 Issues per year

IMPACT FACTOR 2016: 0.252
5-year IMPACT FACTOR: 0.755

CiteScore 2016: 0.48

SCImago Journal Rank (SJR) 2015: 0.501
Source Normalized Impact per Paper (SNIP) 2015: 0.418

See all formats and pricing
In This Section
Volume 17, Issue 1 (Dec 2016)


Volume 6 (2006)

Volume 4 (2004)

Volume 2 (2002)

Volume 1 (2001)

Lobbying as a Guard against Extremism

Galina Zudenkova
  • Corresponding author
  • Department of Economics, University of Mannheim, D-68131Mannheim, Germany
  • Email:
Published Online: 2016-12-28 | DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2016-0212


This paper analyzes endogenous lobbying over a unidimensional policy issue. Individuals differ in policy preferences and decide either to take part in lobbying activities or not. They are assumed to be group rule-utilitarian such that they follow the rule that, if followed by everyone else in their special interest group, would maximize their group’s aggregate welfare. Once formed, lobbies make contributions to the incumbent government in exchange for a policy favor as in a common-agency model. I show the existence of equilibrium with two organized lobbies. Individuals with more extreme preferences are more likely to join lobbying activities. Therefore, the lobbyists are rather extremists than moderates. However, the competition between those extreme lobbies results in a more moderate policy outcome relative to that initially preferred by the biased government. Lobbies therefore guard against extremism, while acting as moderators of the government’s preferences.

Keywords: common agency; endogenous lobbying; extremism

JEL Classification: D72


  • Anesi, V. 2009. “Moral Hazard and Free Riding in Collective Action.” Social Choice and Welfare 32 : 197–219. [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • Austen-Smith, D. 1997. “Interest Groups: Money, Information, and Influence.” In Perspectives on Public Choice. A Handbook, edited by D. C. Mueller. Cambridge University Press. [Crossref]

  • Baron, D. 1989. “Service-Induced Campaign Contributions and the Electoral Equilibrium.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 104 : 45–72. [Crossref]

  • Becker, G. S. 1983. “A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 98 : 371–400. [Crossref]

  • Becker, G. S. 1985. “Public Policies, Pressure Groups and Deadweight Costs.” Journal of Public Economics 28 : 330–347.

  • Bernheim, B. D., and M. D. Whinston. 1986. “Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 101 : 1–31. [Crossref]

  • Besley, T., and S. Coate. 1997. “An Economic Model of Representative Democracy.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 112 : 85–114. [Crossref]

  • Bombardini, M. 2008. “Firm Heterogeneity and Lobby Participation.” Journal of International Economics 75 : 329–348. [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • Bombardini, M., and F. Trebbi. 2012. “Competition and Political Organization: Together or Alone in Lobbying for Trade Policy?” Journal of International Economics 87 : 18–26. [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • Coate, S., and M. Conlin. 2004. “A Group Rule-Utilitarian Approach to Voter Turnout: Theory and Evidence.” American Economic Review 94 : 1476–1504. [Crossref]

  • Cotton, C. 2012. “Pay-To-Play Politics: Informational Lobbying and Contribution Limits When Money Buys Access.” Journal of Public Economics 96 : 369–386. [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • Dahm, M., and N. Porteiro. 2008. “Side Effects of Campaign Finance Reform.” Journal of the European Economic Association 6 : 1057–1077. [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • Damania, R., and P. G. Fredriksson. 2000. “On the Formation of Industry Lobby Groups.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 41 : 315–335. [Crossref]

  • Damania, R., and P. G. Fredriksson. 2003. “Trade Policy Reform, Endogenous Lobby Group Formation, and Environmental Policy.” Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization 52 : 47–69. [Crossref]

  • DeKieffer, D. E. 2007. The Citizen’s Guide to Lobbying Congress: Revised and Updated. Chicago, IL: Chicago Review Press.

  • Dewatripont, M., and J. Tirole. 1999. “Advocates.” Journal of Political Economy 107 : 1–39. [Crossref]

  • Dixit, A., G. M. Grossman, and E. Helpman. 1997. “Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making.” Journal of Political Economy 105 : 752–769. [Crossref]

  • Drazen, A., N. Limão, and T. Stratmann. 2007. “Political Contribution Caps and Lobby Formation: Theory and Evidence.” Journal of Public Economics 91 : 723–754. [Crossref]

  • Feddersen, T., and A. Sandroni. 2006. “A Theory of Participation in Elections.” American Economic Review 96 : 1271–1282. [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • Felli, L., and A. Merlo. 2006. “Endogenous Lobbying.” Journal of the European Economic Association 4 : 180–215. [Crossref]

  • Felli, L., and A. Merlo. 2007. “If You Cannot Get Your Friends Elected Lobby Your Enemies.” Journal of the European Economic Association 5 : 624–635. [Crossref]

  • Furusawa, T., and H. Konishi. 2011. “Contributing or Free-Riding? Voluntary Participation in a Public Good Economy.” Theoretical Economics 6 : 219–256. [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • Glazer, A., and M. Gradstein. 2005. “Elections with Contribution-Maximizing Candidates.” Public Choice 122 : 467–482. [Crossref]

  • Groll, T., and C. J. Ellis. 2014. “A Simple Model of the Commercial Lobbying Industry.” European Economic Review 70 : 299–316. [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • Grossman, G. M., and E. Helpman. 1994. “Protection for Sale.” American Economic Review 84 : 833–850.

  • Grossman, G. M., and E. Helpman. 1996. “Electoral Competition and Special Interest Politics.” Review of Economic Studies 63 : 265–286. [Crossref]

  • Grossman, G. M., and E. Helpman. 2001. Special Interest Politics. MIT Press.

  • Harsanyi, J. C. 1980. “Rule Utilitarianism, Rights, Obligations and the Theory of Rational Behavior.” Theory and Decision 12 : 115–133. [Crossref]

  • Helpman, E., and T. Persson. 2001. “Lobbying and Legislative Bargaining.” Advances in Economic Analysis & Policy 1 :. Article 3.

  • Kerr, W. R., W. F. Lincoln, and P. Mishra. 2014. “The Dynamics of Firm Lobbying.” American Economic Journal: Economic Policy 6 : 343–379. [Web of Science] [Crossref]

  • Krishna, V., and J. Morgan. 2001. “A Model of Expertise.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 116 : 747–775. [Crossref]

  • Laussel, D. G. 2006. “Special Interest Politics and Endogenous Lobby Formation.” Topics in Theoretical Economics 6 (Article 1).

  • Leaver, C., and M. Makris. 2006. “Passive Industry Interests in a Large Polity.” Journal of Public Economic Theory 8 : 571–602. [Crossref]

  • Magee, C. 2002. “Endogenous Trade Policy and Lobby Formation: An Application to the Free-Rider Problem.” Journal of International Economics 57 : 449–471. [Crossref]

  • McCarty, N., K. Poole, and H. Rosenthal. 2006. Polarized America. MIT Press.

  • Mitra, D. 1999. “Endogenous Lobby Formation and Endogenous Protection: A Long-Run Model of Trade Policy Determination.” American Economic Review 89 : 1116–1134. [Crossref]

  • Olson, M. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Harvard University Press.

  • Osborne, M. J., and A. Slivinski. 1996. “A Model of Political Competition with Citizen-Candidates.” Quarterly Journal of Economics 111 : 65–96. [Crossref]

  • Persson, T. 1998. “Economic Policy and Special Interest Politics.” Economic Journal 108 : 310–327. [Crossref]

  • Persson, T., and G. Tabellini. 2002. Political Economics: Explaining Economic Policy. MIT Press.

  • Redoano, M. 2010. “Does Centralization Affect the Number and Size of Lobbies?” Journal of Public Economic Theory 12 : 407–435. [Crossref] [Web of Science]

  • Smith, M. A. 2000. American Business and Political Power: Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy. Chicago: University of Chicago Press.

  • Snyder, J. 1990. “Campaign Contributions as Investments: The U.S. House of Representatives, 1980–86.” Journal of Political Economy 98 : 1195–1227.

About the article

Published Online: 2016-12-28

Citation Information: The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, ISSN (Online) 1935-1682, ISSN (Print) 2194-6108, DOI: https://doi.org/10.1515/bejeap-2016-0212. Export Citation

Comments (0)

Please log in or register to comment.
Log in