Bias in the heavenly chorus: Interests in society and before government

David Lowery, Virginia Gray

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

68 Scopus citations


Counts of lobbying organizations before government long have been used to assess overall bias in the politics of interest representation (Schattschneider, 1960). We argue that this effort is fundamentally flawed, that we cannot extract useful conclusions about interest system bias from one-shot lists of organizations seeking influence. We first examine the extensive literature on bias in interest representation, highlighting the uneven attention of scholars to its two core assumptions. We then turn to enumerating the many ways in which the distribution of interests in society and before government are unlikely to be isomorphic over time or over space. Finally, we return to the still vital question of bias in interest representation to consider how it can be addressed in a more satisfactory, if indirect, manner.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)5-30
Number of pages26
JournalJournal of Theoretical Politics
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 1 2004

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Sociology and Political Science


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