Gaining Access: Congress and the Farm Lobby, 1919-1981

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University of Chicago Press, 1991 - Political Science - 265 pages
Through a comprehensive analysis of American agricultural politics in the past half-century, Gaining Access shows when, how, and why interest groups gain and lose influence in the policy deliberations of the United States Congress. By consulting with policy advocates, John Mark Hansen argues, lawmakers offset their uncertainty about the policy stands that will bolster or impede their prospects for reelection. The advocates provide legislators with electoral intelligence in Washington and supportive propaganda at home, earning serious consideration of their policy views in return. From among a multitude of such informants, representatives must choose those they will most closely consult.

With evidence from congressional hearings, personal interviews, oral histories, farm and trade journals, and newspapers, Hansen traces the evolution of farm lobby access in Congress. He chronicles the rise and fall of the American Farm Bureau, the surge and decline of party politics, the incoporation of the commodity lobbies, the exclusion of the consumer lobbies, and the accommodation of urban interests in food stamps.

Brilliantly combining insights from rational choice theory with historical data, Gaining Access is an essential guide for anyone interested in the dynamics of interest group influence.

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A Theory of Access
The Origins of Access in Agriculture 19191932
The Maintenance of Access in Agriculture 19331947
A Theory of Access Amplifications and Extensions
The Erosion of Access in Agriculture 19481981
Constraints Alternatives and Access in Agriculture 19491981
Commentary and Conclusions
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Page 237 - Milton Friedman, Essays in Positive Economics (Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1953). 6. Paul A. Samuelson, Foundations of Economic Analysis (Cambridge, Mass.: Harvard University Press, 1947), chapters 5 and 6; and Milton Friedman, "The Demand for Money: Some Theoretical and Empirical Results," Journal of Political Economy 67 (August 1959): 327-51.

About the author (1991)

John Mark Hansen is associate professor of political science at the University of Chicago. For the work upon which this book is based, he received the Harold D. Lasswell Award of the American Political Science Association.

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