Please use this identifier to cite or link to this item: http://hdl.handle.net/10419/207107
Authors: 
Matter, Ulrich
Stutzer, Alois
Year of Publication: 
2019
Series/Report no.: 
WWZ Working Paper No. 2019/07
Abstract: 
We investigate the role of public attention in determining the effect that campaign contributions by interest groups have on legislators' policy positions. We exploit the shock in public attention induced by the Internet service blackout of January 2012 that increased the salience of the SOPA/PIPA bills aimed at stronger protection of property rights on the Internet. Using a new dataset of U.S. congressmen's public statements, we find a strong statistical relationship between campaign contributions funded by the affected industries and legislators' positions. However, this relationship evaporates once the two bills become primary policy issues. Our results are consistent with the notion that legislators choose positions on secondary policy issues in order to cater to organized interests, whereas positions on primary policy issues are driven by electoral support.
Subjects: 
Campaign finance
public attention
outside lobbying
Internet governance
mass media
policy positions
interest groups
JEL: 
D72
L82
L86
Document Type: 
Working Paper

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