Fellow In Song Kim Introduces LobbyView

Thursday, Sep 13, 2018

In Song Kim, 2018-2019 Niehaus Fellow in Regional and Political Economy and Associate Professor of Political Science at MIT, has announced the public release of LobbyView: Firm-level Lobbying & Congressional Bills Database. The database allows researchers to effectively search, visualize, and download lobbying data based on the universe of lobbying reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995 in the U.S. The site provides a significant and unique contribution to the study of interest groups and lobbying with its advanced user interface and extensive collection of data.

The database is available for public access at https://www.lobbyview.org/ .

Kim has highlighted some of the main value-added features of the LobbyView database:

  1. Standardized firm/industry identifiers: We standardize all special interest group names, which enables researchers to search firms by their widely used identifiers such as those from Compustat and Bureau van Dijk. Researchers can also examine industry-level lobbying using NAICS (North American Industry Classification System) codes. 
  2. Identification of lobbied bills and political networks: We identify lobbied congressional bills based on bill numbers and/or bill titles that appear in the lobbying reports. Researchers can identify special interest groups that lobbied on any congressional bills introduced since 106th Congress. (For details, see Kim, In Song and Dmitriy Kunisky. "Mapping Political Communities: A Statistical Analysis of Lobbying Networks in Legislative Politics." Working paper available at http://web.mit.edu/insong/www/pdf/network.pdf). 
  3. API: We developed an API which allows researchers to bulk download massive amounts of both structured and unstructured data related to lobbying. We also plan to offer tools for researchers to submit SQL queries directly to the database server and import the data as a data.frame object in the R and Python languages. 
  4. Text search: The database allows full text search across millions of lobbying activity descriptions based on user-provided text strings. This provides a useful tool for identifying political actors with particular substantive interests, e.g., "international trade.

More information can also be found in Kim, In Song (2017). "Political Cleavages within Industry: Firm-level Lobbying for Trade Liberalization." American Political Science Review (2017), Vol. 111, No. 1, pp. 1-20".