Why do cities spend scarce resources lobbying the federal government?

Why do cities spend scarce resources lobbying the federal government?


The hierarchy of U.S. government provides various pathways for local representation. Nevertheless, cities regularly invest in paid representation. This presents a puzzle for American democracy. Why do cities lobby, and do they lobby strategically? We quantify for the first time the extent of this phenomenon and examine its determinants using new data on 498 cities across forty-five states from 1998 to 2008. We find that economic distress pushes cities to lobby, but does not impact expenditures. Cities in competitive congressional districts, and therefore crucial to national politics, spend more on lobbying.
The above abstract is from an article published in the March issue of the Political Research Quarterly by Jaclyn Kettler, Assistant Professor Department of Political Science at Boise State University.
In this paper, the researchers examine why cities spend scarce resources on hiring professional lobbyists in Washington, D.C. Although many cities spend a good deal of public money on lobbying, we know little about this behavior. Using a new dataset, they study the lobbying activities of 498 cities across 45 states from 1998-2008. Kettler and her co-author find that cities are more likely to lobby the federal government in times of economic distress. Additionally, cities spend more on lobbying when they are in a competitive congressional district, making them more relevant in national politics.

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