How is it that environmental groups can have a strong impact on environmental policy but without much lobbying? This paper develops a model of "direct" (lobbying the government) and " indirect" (persuading the public) competition for political influence and finds that they are complementary. However, an increase in the effectiveness of public persuasion, or a rise of public environmental awareness, induces substitution between the two. The findings establish that the empirical phenomenon of lack of political contribution from environmental groups may not be related to financial constraints, but to their greater effectiveness in public persuasion and growing public environmental awareness.

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Journal Review of Economic Studies
Yu, Z. (2005). Environmental protection: A theory of direct and indirect competition for political influence. Review of Economic Studies, 72(1), 269–286. doi:10.1111/0034-6527.00332