DP11571 Influencing Connected Legislators

Author(s): Marco Battaglini, Eleonora Patacchini
Publication Date: October 2016
Keyword(s): economics of networks, interest groups
JEL(s): D72, D78
Programme Areas: Public Economics
Link to this Page: cepr.org/active/publications/discussion_papers/dp.php?dpno=11571

This paper studies how interest groups allocate campaign contributions when congressmen are connected by social ties. We establish conditions for the existence of a unique Nash equilibrium in pure strategies for the contribution game and characterize the associated allocation of the interest groups' moneys. While the allocations are generally complex functions of the environment (the voting function, the legislators' preferences and the social network topology), they are simple, monotonically increasing functions of the respective legislators' Bonacich centralities when the legislators are office motivated or the number of legislators is large. Using data on the 109th-113th Congresses and on congressmen's alumni connections, we estimate the model and find evidence supporting its predictions.