Quarterly Journal of Political Science > Vol 16 > Issue 4

Lobbying, Inside and Out: How Special Interest Groups Influence Policy Choices

Stephane Wolton, London School of Economics and Political Science, UK, s.wolton@lse.ac.uk
Suggested Citation
Stephane Wolton (2021), "Lobbying, Inside and Out: How Special Interest Groups Influence Policy Choices", Quarterly Journal of Political Science: Vol. 16: No. 4, pp 467-503. http://dx.doi.org/10.1561/100.00020007

Publication Date: 18 Oct 2021
© 2021 S. Wolton
Formal modelling,  Interest groups
Special interest groupinside lobbyingoutside lobbyingpowerthreatpromise


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In this article:
Evidence on Inside and Outside Lobbying 
The Model 
The Influence of SIGs Supportive of the Status Quo 
The Influence of SIGs Favorable to Change 


Special interest groups (SIGs) have multiple channels of influence: contributing to decision-makers or providing them with information (henceforth, inside lobbying) and grassroots mobilizations or advertising their position to voters (henceforth, outside lobbying). How do these channels interact? I study a signaling model in which a politician chooses the scope of a reform, two SIGs, one defending the status quo, the other pushing for change, use inside lobbying to bias the content of the proposed policy and outside lobbying to affect its fate. In equilibrium, inside lobbying expenditures are associated with policy compromises, a mark of influence of the SIG supportive of the status quo; meanwhile, outside lobbying activities are associated with comprehensive reforms, a sign of pro-change SIG power. I discuss how these findings can potentially inform the empirical research on SIG influence.