A Bias Towards Business? Assessing Interest Group Influence on the U.S. Bureaucracy

Authors

  • Jason Webb Yackee,

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Southern California
      Jason Webb Yackee is a fellow at the Gould School of Law, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089.
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  • Susan Webb Yackee

    Corresponding author
    1. The University of Southern California
      Susan Webb Yackee is an assistant professor at the School of Policy, Planning and Development, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089.
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Jason Webb Yackee is a fellow at the Gould School of Law, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

Susan Webb Yackee is an assistant professor at the School of Policy, Planning and Development, University of Southern California, Los Angeles, CA 90089.

Abstract

We test the proposition that the federal bureaucracy exhibits a “bias toward business” during notice and comment rulemaking. We analyze over 30 bureaucratic rules and almost 1,700 comments over the period of 1994 to 2001. We find that business commenters, but not nonbusiness commenters, hold important influence over the content of final rules. We also demonstrate that as the proportion of business commenters increases, so too does the influence of business interests. These findings contrast with previous empirical studies and generally suggest that notice and comment procedures have not succeeded in “democratizing” the agency policymaking process to the extent sometimes suggested in the normative rulemaking literature.

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