In (1998), Frank Baumgartner and Beth Leech characterized a series of problems in the interest group research published between 1950 and 1995. In this article, we assess whether recent research has become more theoretically coherent, more attentive to context, and broader in both scope and topical focus, all of which are crucial to advancing the systematic study of interest groups and their policy-making activities. Overall, we observe more large-scale and longitudinal studies between 1996 and 2011 than Baumgartner & Leech observed between 1950 and 1995. This newer literature also is much more likely to focus on key issues for students of politics, and to give attention to the context in which organizations operate to affect public policy. However, we see minimal evidence that scholars addressing similar questions within the subfield are operating from one or a few shared theoretical frameworks.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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