Interest niches and policy bandwagons: Patterns of interest group involvement in national politics

Frank R. Baumgartner, Beth L. Leech

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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Using data from more than 19,000 reports filed under the Lobbying Disclosure Act of 1995, we analyze the distribution of lobbying on a random sample of 137 issues and find a tremendous skewness. The median issue involved only 15 interest groups, whereas 8 of the issues involved more than 300 interest groups. The top 5% of the issues accounted for more than 45% of the lobbying, whereas the bottom 50% of the issues accounted for less than 3% of the total. This distribution makes generalizations about interest group conflict difficult and helps explain why many scholars have disagreed about the abilities of lobbyists to get what they want. We also confirm and expand upon previous findings regarding the tremendous predominance of business firms in the Washington lobbying population.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1191-1213
Number of pages23
JournalJournal of Politics
Issue number4
StatePublished - Nov 2001


All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science

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