Reconceptualizing PAC formation: It's not a collective action problem, and it may be an arms race

Virginia Gray, David Lowery

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

75 Scopus citations


After criticizing current models of political action committee (PAC) formation as flawed both in the samples used in tests and in the specifications tested, we develop a new explanation of PAC formation that emphasizes competition for access among those already engaged in lobbying. We test both organization- and state-level implications of this alternative account, respectively, employing survey and aggregate data on PACs in the American states. The empirical findings provide preliminary support for our explanation and sharply contradict prior evidence that PAC formation is governed by problems of free riding.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)319-346
Number of pages28
JournalAmerican Politics Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Jul 1997


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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