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Merchants of Doubt: Corporate Political Influence when Expert Credibility is Uncertain

Mireille Chiroleu-Assouline () and Thomas Lyon ()

No 2016.28, Working Papers from FAERE - French Association of Environmental and Resource Economists

Abstract: A key role of science-based non-governmental organizations (NGOs) is to communicate scientific knowledge to policymakers. However, recent evidence has emerged showing that industry-backed groups often attempt to undermine the credibility of such NGOs and weaken their ability to influence policy. To investigate the mechanisms by which a firm can profitably create doubt about scientific information, we use a signaling model of interest-group lobbying in which the policymaker has fixed costs of taking action. We explore two mechanisms for the creation of doubt. The first involves using Bayesian persuasion to imply that the NGO may be a radical extremist whose lobbying is not credible. The second involves the creation of a think tank which can offer its own testimony on scientific matters. We show the firm prefers that the think tank does not act as a credible moderate, but instead sometimes takes radical, non-credible, positions. We identify conditions under which each mechanism is preferred by the firm.

Keywords: NGOs; Public Politics; Lobbying (search for similar items in EconPapers)
JEL-codes: D72 D82 L31 Q58 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 34 pages
Date: 2016-11
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-pol
References: View references in EconPapers View complete reference list from CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (3) Track citations by RSS feed

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http://faere.fr/pub/WorkingPapers/Chiroleu-Assouline_Lyon_FAERE_WP2016.28.pdf First version, 2016 (application/pdf)

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