Journal Article

Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy

Timothy Besley and Stephen Coate

in The Review of Economic Studies

Published on behalf of Review of Economic Studies Ltd

Volume 68, issue 1, pages 67-82
Published in print January 2001 | ISSN: 0034-6527
Published online January 2001 | e-ISSN: 1467-937X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1111/1467-937X.00160
Lobbying and Welfare in a Representative Democracy

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This paper studies the impact of lobbying on political competition and policy outcomes in a framework which integrates the citizen-candidate model of representative democracy with the menu-auction model of lobbying. Positive and normative issues are analysed. On the positive side, lobbying need have little or no effect on policy outcomes because voters can restrict the influence of lobbyists by supporting candidates with offsetting policy preferences. On the normative side, coordination failure among lobbyists can result in Pareto inefficient policy choices. In addition, by creating rents to holding office, lobbying can lead to “excessive” entry into electoral competition.

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Subjects: Economics

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