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Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why Paperback – July 15, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0226039459 ISBN-10: 0226039455

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 360 pages
  • Publisher: University Of Chicago Press (July 15, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0226039455
  • ISBN-13: 978-0226039459
  • Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 6.2 x 8.8 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.3 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #213,447 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"This excellent book draws on a creative, original data set that nearly solves one of the great puzzles of political analysis: how to make a systematic assessment of who wields influence in politics. The authors amassed a phenomenal amount of information from interviews and electronic and print sources. Although much of what they find challenges common wisdom in political science, their findings are persuasive." - Kay Schlozman, Boston College"

About the Author

Frank R. Baumgartner is the Bruce R. Miller and Dean D. LaVigne Professor of Political Science at Penn State University. Jeffrey M. Berry is the John Richard Skuse Professor of Political Science at Tufts University. Marie Hojnacki is associate professor of political science at Penn State University. David C. Kimball is associate professor of political science at the University of Missouri–St. Louis. Beth L. Leech is associate professor of political science at Rutgers University.


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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Vegan Matt on January 31, 2010
Format: Paperback
This book is important for a number of reasons, and I'll mention 3.

First, it is an important addition to Baumgartner's work with Bryon Jones, as it shows how difficult it is to shift policy frames. B&J's Punctuated Equilibrium model of policy change hinges on challengers reframing issues along previously excluded dimensions. This book shows such frame shifts are rare, and thus American politics is more closed and conservative than the B&J model might suggest.

Second, money isn't everything. This book shows that the coalitions that form on either side of any policy issue are almost always well financed. There's money to be made on both sides of every issue (i.e. tighter regs on dirty coal means a huge competitive advantage for cleaner western coal plants). So money rarely buys policy, as many progressives lament, however, this situation further entrenches the status quo.

Third, poor people have few, if any, lobbyists. While citizen groups are well represented on environmental and health care (i.e. every disease has a strong presence lobbying for $) issues, the poor have few advocates on issues like welfare and medicaid reform. That's a problem, as money and lobbyists matter most when the other side doesn't show.

The entire book is worth reading, and political scientists should note the methodological strength of the study. Best book on lobbying in a long time (maybe ever).
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By P. Troutman on September 14, 2012
Format: Paperback
The other reviews pro and con don't give a sense of what makes this book so special. Many a book has been written about the considerable influence of lobbyists. None of them, however, have been terribly systematic, preferring instead to focus on dramatic cases.

The authors of this book take a different and shockingly laborious approach to come up with a more accurate approach. They take a random sample of issues that lobbyists working the halls of Congress for the last two years of Clinton and the first two years of George W. Bush. This gives them a vastly more accurate snapshot of what lobbyists actually do than focusing on the big cases.

But what's more, it's not actually a snapshot but a motion picture. The authors follow up two and four years later to see how successful lobbyists actually were. This gives them a much more vivid and deeper picture of the actions of lobbyists than almost any other study.

And their conclusions overturn left and right common sense understandings of the power of lobbyists. For instance, they argue that in only five percent of their cases were issues even partially reframed (so much for the emphasis on framing issues). Even more dramatically, they argue that lobbyists attempting to change the status quo usually fail, regardless of how many resources they have behind them. Plus there are a few great stand alone chapters, like the one that looks at the rhetoric that advocates for and against change make and the arguments are remarkably consistent regardless of the topic. This book really should make it on the list of great political science books.

It's extraordinary, but it's not perfect. There are places where the prose feels very redundant, and the tables are curiously difficult to understand (and the text doesn't necessarily help). So, yeah, it's a slog, but if you're serious about politics, you'll ultimately be rewarded.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Judy Cooper on August 31, 2009
Format: Paperback
This book is truly a fascinating, new look at how policies change (or not), and what goes into the process. It is a fabulous look at lobbying for scholars and lay people alike. Anyone interested in how things work in Washington should read this!
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0 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Afrique on June 28, 2011
Format: Paperback
I got to the book so far up to chapter three, fascinating book to read even though it's standard of writing is beyond my comprehension but I still read couple of times to make out of sense. I would recommend anyone who is interesting Lobbies and public policy.
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6 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Todd on November 29, 2010
Format: Paperback
The information in this book may be good, but it is so excruciatingly hard to read, only the most determined person will ever get to it. I have never encountered a book so full of information about the research and with so little useful information. Shouldn't this have been an academic paper rather than published as a book? Why do people publish books that are so difficult? These people are spending years doing research on issues important to the public, and yet they don't have the sense to make it readily available to the public. Why!?!

To be fair, I downloaded the Kindle ebook and read that and nothing else. Yikes!
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