Friday seminar - "Foreign Influence in US Politics" - Marco Grotteria (London Business School)
"Foreign Influence in US Politics"
Abstract: We provide novel insights on the nature and scope of foreign lobbying and inﬂuence in US politics. To do so, we introduce a comprehensive dataset of date-stamped meetings between foreign agents and individual US legislators, spanning 2000 to 2018 and covering 146 countries, and 1,200 US legislators. From this new dataset, ﬁve facts emerge: (1) improvements in diplomatic relations with the US are asso-ciated with fewer meetings; (2) meetings are positively related to legislator law-making eﬀectiveness and past employment connections with lobbyists while they are unrelated to political ideology; (3) foreign agents maintain connections with all legislators even after they depart from committees that are important to for-eign countries; (4) around these meetings, foreign countries beneﬁt from increased ﬁnancial aid and assistance and advantageous product tariﬀs; and (5) meetings between representatives of a given foreign country and US legislators are associ-ated to changes in the ethnic composition of registered voters and an increase in privately-sponsored foreign trips to these countries. Overall, these results provide the ﬁrst large-sample evidence of foreign inﬂuence in US politics and present new observations to guide work in economics, public ﬁnance, and political science.