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Assessing Inter-Institutional Attention to and Influence on Government Regulations



The US federal bureaucracy implements the nation's laws while juggling its own preferences and the preferences of numerous stakeholders. This article begins to unpack the conditions under which the bureaucracy responds to its stakeholders during rule making, and it is argued that bureaucratic responsiveness is conditioned on the level of attention provided by Congress and the President. This argument is tested with a dataset of forty rules and 1,444 interest group comments. Interest group influence is found to be constrained by congressional – but not presidential – attention to rule making. The results also shed light on Wilson's interest group theory of politics and suggest that the fragmentation of group preferences is less important than the central message sent by groups.



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