Two of the most notable changes in political interest communities in recent decades have been the rise of direct lobbying by institutions and the decline of collective lobbying via associations. These trends may be related to each other, since institutions can choose to lobby through either or both approaches. The shifting balance between direct and collective representation of institutional interests may signal important changes in how institutions perceive their interests, how those interests are pursued, and how diverse interests are aggregated in public policy. We present four theoretical perspectives—the demographic opportunity, collective action, competitive exclusion, and crowded room perspectives—to develop hypotheses about the relationship between these two forms of representation. We then employ both aggregate data on state lobby registrations and survey data on state lobbying by institutions to distinguish between these hypotheses. We find strongest support for the crowded room perspective, such that the relationship between direct and collective forms of interest representation tends to be one of mutualism rather than competition.
All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes
- Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
- Political Science and International Relations