Astroturf: Interest Group Lobbying and Corporate Strategy
Thomas Lyon () and
John Maxwell ()
Journal of Economics & Management Strategy, 2004, vol. 13, issue 4, 561-597
We study three corporate nonmarket strategies designed to influence the lobbying behavior of other special interest groups: (1) astroturf, in which the firm covertly subsidizes a group with similar views to lobby when it normally would not; (2) the bear hug, in which the firm overtly pays a group to alter its lobbying activities; and (3) self‐regulation, in which the firm voluntarily limits the potential social harm from its activities. All three strategies reduce the informativeness of lobbying, and all reduce the payoff of the public decision‐maker. We show that the decision‐maker would benefit by requiring the public disclosure of funds spent on astroturf lobbying but that the availability of alternative influence strategies limits the impact of such a policy.
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