Title: The Diplomacy Lobby: How Foreign Governments Navigate American Checks and Balances
Authors: Matt Malis and Hye Young You
Abstract: Though the vast majority of countries maintain an embassy in Washington, DC, foreign governments spend hundreds of millions of dollars each year to lobby US policymakers through US agents. We propose a framework to understand this phenomenon that disaggregates lobbying into information collection (or internal) functions, and information transmission (or external) functions. Foreign governments increase information collection efforts earlier in a US president's tenure, and when their access to bureaucratic channels is weakest -- conditions that heighten uncertainty around US foreign policy. This also occurs when a country initiates a militarized dispute (but not a dispute with the US). External lobbying, on the other hand, increases under divided government, and increases with the volume of legislative activity related to foreign affairs -- and further increases as that legislation is stalled in committee.
These are preliminary findings, and we are eager for comments and suggestions.