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Does public attention reduce the influence of moneyed interests? Policy positions on SOPA/PIPA before and after the internet blackout

Matter, Ulrich and Stutzer, Alois. (2019) Does public attention reduce the influence of moneyed interests? Policy positions on SOPA/PIPA before and after the internet blackout. Economic Inquiry, 57 (4). pp. 1879-1895.

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Official URL: https://edoc.unibas.ch/73436/

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Abstract

We investigate the role of public attention in determining the effect that campaign contributions by interest groups have on legislators` policy positions. We exploit the shock in public attention induced by the Internet service blackout of January 2012 that increased the salience of the Stop Online Piracy Act/Protect IP Act (SOPA/PIPA) bills aimed at stronger protection of property rights on the Internet. Using a new dataset of U.S. congressmen`s public statements, we find a strong statistical relationship between campaign contributions funded by the affected industries and legislators` positions. However, this relationship evaporates once the two bills become primary policy issues. Our results are consistent with the notion that legislators choose positions on secondary policy issues in order to cater to organized interests, whereas positions on primary policy issues are driven by electoral support.
Faculties and Departments:06 Faculty of Business and Economics > Departement Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Professuren Wirtschaftswissenschaften > Politische ├ľkonomie (Stutzer)
UniBasel Contributors:Stutzer, Alois
Item Type:Article, refereed
Article Subtype:Research Article
Publisher:Western Economic Association International
ISSN:0095-2583
Note:Publication type according to Uni Basel Research Database: Journal article
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Last Modified:17 Dec 2019 10:24
Deposited On:17 Dec 2019 10:24

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