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Crossing the Influence Gap: Clarifying the Benefits of Earlier Interest Group Involvement in Shaping Regulatory Policy

Author: JEFFREY J. COOK
Published in PAQ, Vol. 42 No. 4

Extant literature demonstrates that interest groups impact regulatory outcomes at each stage in the rulemaking process. It is unclear whether earlier involvement during the pre-proposal stage affects a group’s ability to influence outcomes during the notice and comment stage as well. This research addresses this gap, through an analysis of three case studies of rulemakings completed at the Environmental Protection Agency. The original interviews and public comment analysis illustrate a relationship between earlier involvement and influence during the notice and comment stage. Those interviewees that participated during the pre-proposal stage were more successful in receiving rule changes than those that did not. This suggests that scholars should analyze interest group involvement and impact across the rulemaking process to more effectively explain rulemaking outcomes and clarify group influence.

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