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Business as usual: interest group access and representation across policy-making venues

  • Frederick J. Boehmke (a1), Sean Gailmard (a2) and John W. Patty (a3)


We provide the first comprehensive study of lobbying across venues by studying interest group registrations in both the legislative and administrative branches. We present four major findings based on Federal and state data. Firstly, groups engage in substantial administrative lobbying relative to legislative lobbying. Secondly, the vast majority of groups lobby the legislature, but a large proportion of groups also lobby the bureaucracy. Thirdly, representational biases in legislative lobbying are replicated across venues: business groups dominate administrative lobbying at least as much as they do legislative lobbying. Finally, the level of interest group activity in one venue for a given policy area is strongly related to its level in the other venue. The findings potentially have important implications for the impact of institutional design on both the form and promotion of broad participation in policy-making as well as the ultimate content of policies chosen by democratic governments, broadly construed.


Corresponding author

Frederick J. Boehmke Associate Professor Department of Political Science University of Iowa 341 Schaeffer Hall Iowa City, IA 52242 USA Email:
Sean Gailmard Associate Professor Travers Department of Political Science University of California, Berkeley 734 Barrows Hall Berkeley, California 94720 USA Email:
John W. Patty Associate Professor Department of Political Science Washington University Campus Box 1063 1 Brookings Drive St. Louis, MO 63130 USA Email:


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