Interest Groups & Advocacy

, Volume 4, Issue 3, pp 205–224 | Cite as

Assessing business advantage in Washington lobbying

  • Marie Hojnacki
  • Kathleen M Marchetti
  • Frank R Baumgartner
  • Jeffrey M Berry
  • David C Kimball
  • Beth L Leech
Original Article


Popular accounts of business involvement in politics typically suggest that business interests enjoy relatively unfettered success in getting what they want from government. Scholarly work is more equivocal. In this article we use a random sample of 98 policy issues between 1998 and 2002 to examine whether business interests and other advocates get what they want from the policy process, and how their rate of success varies when they face different types of opponents. We find that business’ efforts to affect public policy typically draw challenges from other types of interests. In the face of opposition, business is less likely relative to citizen interests to achieve its goals. But business does appear to have an advantage in the relatively rare instances when it acts to advance its interests on issues that do not draw opposition or interest from other actors. Under these circumstances, it is much more likely than other types of advocates who face no opposition to realize its policy goals. Our findings clarify how the nature and framing of issues and a favorable political climate can prove essential to business’ prospects for achieving policy success.


business advocacy lobbying public policy policy success 


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Copyright information

© Macmillan Publishers Ltd 2015

Authors and Affiliations

  • Marie Hojnacki
    • 1
  • Kathleen M Marchetti
    • 2
  • Frank R Baumgartner
    • 3
  • Jeffrey M Berry
    • 4
  • David C Kimball
    • 5
  • Beth L Leech
    • 6
  1. 1.Department of Political SciencePenn State UniversityUniversity ParkUSA
  2. 2.Department of Political ScienceDickinson CollegeCarlisleUSA
  3. 3.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of North Carolina - Chapel HillChapel HillUSA
  4. 4.Department of Political ScienceTufts UniversityMedfordUSA
  5. 5.Department of Political ScienceUniversity of Missouri, St. LouisSt. LouisUSA
  6. 6.Department of Political ScienceRutgers UniversityNew BrunswickUSA

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