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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Political Expenditures and Power Laws: A Spatial Model of the Lobbying Process

  • Author(s): Maheshri, Vikram
  • et al.

I develop the theory of power laws and allude to their prevalence elsewhere in the scientific world. I use actual data on US special interest groups to identify a broad, empirical regularity in the distribution of their lobbying expenditures, which naturally gives rise to a spatial model of the lobbying process. I discuss the policy implications of these findings and stress the superiority of this approach in describing aggregate special interest behavior relative to the stylized, strategic workhorse models in this field. Supplemental mathematical background is provided in two appendices.

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