Highlighted Site of the Week – The Lobbying and Policy Advocacy Project - State and Federal Communications

August 20, 2010  •  

Highlighted Site of the Week – The Lobbying and Policy Advocacy Project

This week we highlight The Lobbying and Policy Advocacy Project, a site hosted by Penn State University. The project asks the question: What has been the true effect of lobbying on policy making in American government?

After ten years of work, the authors propose that the answer is – it has not had much effect at all. Running counter to what many people think, the project’s resulting book: Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses and Why is saying lobbyists – most of the time – are not getting their way with Congress.

Are lobbyists wasting their time?

For a good analysis of the project, here is an article published in Miller-McCune called “K Street and the Status Quo,” by Melinda Burns.

Unlike many previous studies that looked at cases of lobbying and legislation connected with scandal, The Lobbying and Policy Advocacy Project used nearly one hundred cases that were randomly selected. A great feature of their Web site is a page with links to each of those random sampling case studies. This is a resource for further research on lobbying:

“Researchers and students interested in lobbying should be able to conduct a wealth of research simply by comparing the cases we have documented here,” states the Lobbying and Policy Advocacy Project.

The site also has a page listing all of the publications related to the study. The principle investigators on the project are Frank Baumgartner from The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Jeffrey Berry from Tufts, Marie Hojnacki from Penn State, David Kimball from Missouri – St. Louis, and Beth Leach from Rutgers.

As Burns’ article points out, there are those who disagree with the findings of the study. One of the enduring questions after reading Lobbying and Policy Change would have to be – if the millions spent on lobbying were not paying off in the long term, why does it go on?

Are lobbyists wasting their time? Check out this this site and see how a new conversation has started!

A special thanks to Jim Sedor for pointing me in the direction of this study.

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