This article provides an overview of the scholarly efforts to document the influence of interest groups and suggest some reasons why there is such a great disconnect between popular belief and scholarly evidence. One of the best-known examples of contradictory findings about the influence of interest groups comes from the classic studies of US trade policy conducted by E. E. Schattschneider (1935) and, three decades later, Bauer, Pool, and Dexter (1963). Schattschneider documented many limitations on group influence and Bauer, Pool, and Dexter documented many instances in which the close relationships interest groups had with their allies led to advantageous outcomes. In the age of Bauer, Pool, and Dexter, interest groups were effective in part because of the information they supplied. The wrong assumptions about how policy works are finally discussed.
Keywords: interest groups; lobbying; US trade policy; E. E. Schattschneider; Bauer; Pool; Dexter
Article. 8223 words.
Subjects: Politics ; US Politics ; Political Behaviour
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