What happens when local governments hire lobbyists? Although intergovernmental lobbying is common in the United States and other federal systems, we know little about its consequences. Using newly compiled data on state-level lobbying across the country, I establish a positive correlation between city lobbying and state funding. I then introduce over a decade of panel data onmunicipal lobbying in California to estimate the returns to lobbying for cities with a difference-indifferences design. I show that lobbying increases state transfers to cities by around 8%. But the benefits of intergovernmental lobbying are not equally distributed. I find that cities with higher levels of own-source revenue per capita net more statemoney when they hire lobbyists, despite enjoying a local revenue advantage. These results offer some of the first empirical evidence that city officials can influence state spending by lobbying—but this behavior may also perpetuate local economic inequality.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science