What are the consequences of access, and what is its role in interest group influence? I analyze a model in which interest groups with targeted access can potentially lobby policy proposals by certain politicians. A key result is that access can shape policy outcomes on its own, independently of any lobbying effort. By increasing the potential for lobbying, access leads other politicians to expect that the target’s proposals are more likely to favor the group, which changes their own value from bargaining and, in turn, their voting and proposal behavior. These effects of access can benefit the group, but they can also hurt it and potentially even outweigh its gain from better lobbying prospects. For example, moderate groups crave access to relatively extreme politicians but avoid access to a range of more centrist politicians. The results also provide empirical implications for various political expenditures related to access and influence.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Sociology and Political Science