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Cities as Lobbyists

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Individual cities are active interest groups in lobbying the federal government, and yet the dynamics of this intergovernmental lobbying are poorly understood. We argue that preference incongruence between a city and its parent state government leads to underprovision of public goods, and cities need to appeal to the federal government for additional resources. We provide evidence for this theory using a data set of over 13,800 lobbying disclosures filed by cities with populations over 25,000 between 1999 and 2012. Income inequality and ethnic fragmentation are also highly related to federal lobbying activities. Using an instrumental variables analysis of earmark and Recovery Act grant data, we show that each dollar a city spends on lobbying generates substantial returns.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: October 1, 2017

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