"Cities in the Statehouse: How Local Governments Use Lobbyists to Secure State Funding"
Julia Payson, Assistant Professor of Politics, NYU
Abstract: What happens when local governments hire lobbyists? Although intergovernmental lobbying is common in the U.S. 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 association between city lobbying and state funding. I then introduce over a decade of panel data on municipal lobbying in California to estimate the returns to lobbying for cities with a difference-in-differences 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 state money 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.
This talk is part of the American Politics Speaker Series, organized by Prof. Jon Rogowski and sponsored by the Harvard Department of Government and the Center for American Political Studies (CAPS). This event is free and open to the public.