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When is Good News About Pro-Co-operation Lobbies Good News About Co-operation?

  • Stephen Chaudoin and Johannes Urpelainen

Lobbies are active participants in international co-operation. In a repeated game, this article allows domestic lobbies to offer contingent rewards to influence their government to make pro-co-operation policy adjustments. The effect of lobbies depends on the type and intensity of their preferences. If the lobbies are ‘internationally benefiting’ – that is, they are interested in whether the foreign government reciprocates with adjustments of its own, they unambiguously improve co-operation. However, if the lobbies are ‘domestically benefiting’ – that is, they are interested in their own government's policy, they are less beneficial for co-operation. A domestically benefiting lobby that is willing to compensate its government even without foreign reciprocity undermines the credibility of punishing free riders. This article demonstrates this argument in the context of trade and environmental co-operation.

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Department of Political Science, University of Pittsburgh (email:; Department of Political Science, Columbia University (email: We thank Anthony Arias, Joseph Brown, Sarah Hummel, Robert Keohane, Jeff Kucik, John Londregan, Tom Scherer, Alice Xu, as well as Adam Meirowitz and participants at the Princeton University Graduate Seminar in Political Economy. We also thank Hugh Ward and the anonymous reviewers for their constructive comments. Online appendices are available at

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British Journal of Political Science
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