Working PaperPDF Available

Constructing Interest Group Coalitions

Authors:
  • Trinity University
ConstructingInterestGroupCoalitions
JesseM.Crosson
Ph.D.Candidate
DepartmentofPoliticalScience
UniversityofMichigan
jessemc@umich.edu
MichaelT.Heaney
AssistantProfessor
OrganizationalStudiesProgram&DepartmentofPoliticalScience
UniversityofMichigan
mheaney@umich.edu
PaperPresentedatthe112thAnnualMeetingoftheAmericanPoliticalScienceAssociation,
September14,2016,Philadelphia,Pennsylvania.
Abstract
Coalitionsareoneofthemostimportanttoolsavailabletointerestgroupsastheyattemptto
influencethepolicyprocess,yetrelativelylittleisknownabouthowinterestgroupcoalitions
areconstructed.Drawinguponanoriginaldatasetof226interviewswithcoalitionleaders
conductedinWashington,DCin2014and2015,thispaperexaminesthepreferencesof
coalitionleadersoverbringingnewmembersintotheircoalitions.Itexplainsvariationsin
leaders’statedpreferencesfororganizationalmembershipdiversitywithrespecttoideology
andissuesusingatwostagemixedprocessestimator.Itfocusesonfourfeaturesofcoalitions’
issuespartisanlean,degreeofcontroversy,distributionofbenefitsandcosts,andvenue.The
resultsshowthatpreferencesforideologicalmembershipdiversityareassociatedwith
majoritarianpolitics,legislativeratherthanbureaucraticvenues,youngercoalitions,andlarger
coalitionsizes.Preferencesforissuemembershipdiversityareassociatedwithhighly
controversialissues,youngercoalitions,andlargercoalitionsizes.Theresultsshouldbe
interpretedwithcautionduetopossiblelengthbias.Futureworkonthisprojectpromisesto
yieldbetterunderstandingofhowinterestgroups,politicalparties,andcoalitionsare
alternativebutrelatedinstitutionsforstrategicactorstoadvancetheirpublicpolicyinterests.
Keywords
Interestgroups,coalitions,issues,ideology,diversity
Acknowledgements
FundingforthisresearchwasprovidedbytheUndergraduateResearchOpportunityProgram,
theOfficeofResearch,theDepartmentofPoliticalScience,andtheOrganizationalStudies
ProgramattheUniversityofMichigan.Forassistancewithphoneinterviews,wethankZev
Berger,JustinHeck,andChinnuParinandi.Forotherresearchassistance,wethankStephanie
Evans,BrianneRecker,AkashRamanujam,HenryBallout,OliviaBrinks,AliceDanelia,BrettIvey,
MarcoLewis,NicholasMeier,RaphaelKorosso,LaineySegel,AnaCristinaSpies,ChenLiang,and
RyanGillcrist.
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ObserversofAmericanpoliticshavelongregisteredconcernaboutthepotentialfor
specialinterestgroupstoexertinfluenceoverpublicpolicyoutcomesinwaysthatbenefitelites
tothedetrimentofordinarycitizens(Dahl1961;GilensandPage2014).Thisconcernhasbeen
channeled,inpart,intoresearchthatexaminestherepresentationalbiasesofparticipationin
theinterestgroupsystem,suchasgreaterinvolvementbybusinessandprofessionalgroups
thanbycitizens’interests(Schattschneider1960).Empiricalresearchinthistraditionoften
examinesindividualinterestgroupsandthedistributionoftheirpoliticalactivities,especially
lobbying,givingcongressionaltestimony,filingamicuscuriaebriefs,makingcampaign
contributions,andhiringpoliticalstaff(Grossmann2012;SchlozmanandTierney1986;
Schlozman,Verba,andBrady2012).Forexample,researchconsistentlyfindsthatcorporations,
tradeassociations,andoccupationalinterestsspendmoremoneyonlobbyingthandopublic
interestorganizations(Schlozman,Verba,andBrady2012,p.409).
Despitetheinterestgroupfield’semphasisonthedistributionofactivitiesofindividual
organizations,researchinthefieldalsoconsistentlyshowsthatinterestgroupsundertakea
largeshareoftheirworkcollaborativelyincoalitions(Baumgartner,Berry,Hojnacki,Kimball,
andLeech2009;Hojnacki1997;Holyoke2011;Hula1999).Thesecoalitionsareacriticalpartof
thenetworksthatinterestgroupsformwithoneanother(Grossmann2014;Heaney2006;
HeaneyandLorenz2013).Indeed,asMahoneyandBaumgartner(2015)argue,interestgroups
exertinfluenceprimarilyinconjunctionwiththeiralliesinthepolicyprocessand,thus,mustbe
understoodinthatcontext.
Giventheubiquityofcoalitionsintheworkofinterestgroups,itissurprisingthat
representationalissueshavenotbeeninvestigatedmoreextensivelywithincoalitionsettings.
2
Researchthataddressesthesequestionsisgenerallylimitedinscopetostudiesthatfocuson
selectedpolicyareas(see,forexample,Phinney2010;Tattersal2010).Ifinterestgroupsexert
theirinfluencewhenactingincoalition,thenshouldnottherepresentationofinterestgroups
beexaminedastheyaresituatedincoalitions?Isitnottheconfigurationofgroupsthrough
theiralliancesthatmattersmorethantheirindividualcapacities?Ifagroupisindividuallywell
endowed,butitisunabletoarrangesuitablecollaboration,itmaynottobeabletosuccessfully
advocateforitsinterests.Conversely,ifagroupisindividuallypoorlyendowed,butitforges
strategicallysavvyalliances,itsgoalsmaybewithinisreach(Strolovitch2007;Tattersal2010).
Inordertohaveabetterappreciationforhowinterestsarerepresentedinthepolicy
process,moreinformationisneededabouthowinterestgroupsareconfiguredthrough
coalitions.Theprimarygoalofthisprojectistobuilddeeperknowledgeaboutthenatureof
coalitionsasinstitutionsthatmediatetheinfluencethatgroupshaveoverpublicpolicy.Asa
firststeptowardthisend,thispaperexaminesthelogicthatinterestgroupsuseinbuilding
coalitions.Whatdotheylookforinnewmembers?Understandingwhymembersofacoalition
arechosenprovidesinitialinsightintowhichinterestsareandarenotrepresentedthrough
coalitions.Weargueinthispaperthattheissuecontextofacoalitionshapesitsmotivations
forseekingnewmembers.Inparticular,weinquireabouttheconditionsunderwhich
coalitionspreferdiversityintheissuesandideologiesreflectedbytheirorganizational
members.
Thispaperpresentsthefirstfindingsoutofanewstudyof226randomlyselected
lobbyingcoalitionssampledfromthefullrangeoffederalpolicyissuesintheUnitedStatesin
2014and2015.Personalinterviewswereconductedbythestudy’sauthorswitha
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representativeofeachcoalition.Theresultsshedlightonhowfourfeaturesofissuestheir
partisanlean,degreeofcontroversy,distributionofbenefitsandcosts,andvenuecorrespond
withthepreferencesthatcoalitionalrepresentativesexpressaboutissueandideological
diversityamongmembersofthecoalition.
Thepaperbeginsbydrawingupontheoriesofcoalitionsanddiversitytoestablisha
workingtheoreticframework.Second,wederivehypothesesaboutcoalitionalpreferencesfor
members.Third,weexplainthemethodsofcollectingdata.Fourth,wedetailourempirical
model.Fifth,wepresentthestatisticalresults.Sixth,wediscusstheimplicationsofthe
findingsforhowinterestsgetrepresented.Thepaperconcludesbylayingoutthenextsteps
forresearch.
SeekingCoalitionMembers
Coalitionsareaflexiblewayforinterestgroupstoparticipateinpoliticaladvocacy.An
interestgroupcoalitionexistsanytimetwoormoreautonomousinterestgroupsagreetowork
togetherinadvocatingfortheirpublicpolicyinterests(Wilson1995).Thisencompassing
definitionrecognizesthatcoalitionsexistinawidevarietyofforms.Theymaybesmallorlarge,
temporaryorlongterm,broadornarrowinscope,andformalorinformalintheir
organizationalstructure(Tarrow2005).
Theflexiblenatureofcoalitionsmeansthattheirmembershipsarealwayspotentiallyin
flux.Somecoalitionmembershipsmayremainstableovertime.Butcoalitionsalsohavethe
optiontoaddordeletemembersatanytime.Doingsoisoftenassimpleasupdatingaweb
pageorletterhead.Theymayseektodosoasneworganizationsemerge,asanissuechanges,
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asinterestsevolve,orasthelegislativeprocessprogresses(orstalls).Inshort,coalitional
configurationsmaychangewhenopportunitiespresentthemselvesforchange.
Thequestionathandinthispaperishowcoalitionleadersthinkaboutmakingchanges
totheircoalitionmemberships.Dotheyprefertomakechangesthatadddiversitytoa
coalitionorthatreinforceexistingstrengths?Iftheyseekdiversity,onwhichdimensions?
Wouldtheyliketoaddmembersthatarediversewithrespecttoideology,issues,orboth?Of
course,justbecauseacoalition’sleaderspreferdiversitydoesnotmeanthattheywillactually
achievediversityinthecoalition’scomposition.However,understandingthesepreferencesisa
firststeptowardexplaininghowcoalitionalconfigurationsarise.
TheoriesofDiversity
Diversityisatwoedgedswordforcoalitionsthatholdsbothpotentialadvantagesand
disadvantages.Theseadvantagesanddisadvantagesrelatetowhatacoalition’smembership
signals,aswellashowitaffectsthewaythatmemberscollaborate.First,themembershipofa
coalitioncontainsinformationthatsendssignalstointerestedpoliticalobservers,suchas
legislators(Kollman1998;Phinney2010).Fromthisperspective,amorediversecoalition
indicatesthatthecoalitionappealstoawiderrangeofinterests.Policymakersarelikelyto
viewthisbreadthasanindicationthattheycouldalsoassembleabroadconstituencybehind
thecoalition’scausewithintheirinstitutionalcontext(suchasonacongressionalcommittee).
Thus,coalitionaldiversitymaybeasignalthatthecoalition’scauseisagooduseofpolitical
capital.
Second,diversityinacoalition’smembershipmayaffectthewaycoalitionmembers
collaborate(Page2007;Phinney2010).Amorediversecoalitionmayassemblemore
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information,resources,andskillsthanahomogenousone.Thus,greaterdiversitymayleada
coalitiontotheactualityofgreatersuccessinitswork.Somecoalitionleadersmayviewthe
constructionofadiversecoalitionitselfasakindofintermediatesuccessonthepathtowarda
longertermgoal(Tattersal2010).Achievingdiversitymaycorrelatewithcollaborativenorms
thatareotherwiseseeminglyunrelatedtothecoalition’sspecificconcerns(Linnehan,Chrobot
Mason,andKonrad2006).Further,greaterdiversitymaysignalagreaterlikelihoodofsuccess,
thusconflatingthesignalingandcollaborativeeffectsofdiversity.
Atthesametime,diversitycarriesrisksinthewaythatmembersofacoalitionwork
together.Adiversecoalitionmaybetheproverbial“toomanycooksthatspoilthebroth”.
Membersmayhavedifferencesthatmakethemillsuitedforthecoalition’swork.These
differencesmayalsobringthemembersintoconflictwithoneanother,thusamplifyingthe
coalition’sinternalmaintenancedifficulties.Undercertainconditions,diversitymaynotbe
worththecost.
DimensionsofDiversity
Thediscussionofdiversityuptothispointiscastinabstractterms.However,thereare
manydifferentdimensionsofdiversitythatmayberelevant.Incommonusage,diversity
generallyreferstodifferencesintherace/ethnicityorsex/genderofindividuals.Thispaper
referstothediversityoforganizationsand,thus,pertainstoorganizationalcharacteristics.For
example,theorganizationalmembersofacoalitionmaybehomogenousordiversewith
respecttodimensionssuchastheirrepresentationofcertainindustriesorsectors,the
geographicscopeoftheirconstituencies(e.g.,local,state,regional,national,international),or
theirtacticalexpertise(e.g.,lobbying,grassroots,legal).
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Thispapertheorizestwoaspectsofdiversitythatareparticularlysalientin
contemporarypolitics:issuesandideology.Issuesareimportantbecausetheyorientthework
ofmembersofCongress,whochoosetoconcentrateonaselectedportfolioofissues(Sulkin
1995).Thus,broadeningtheissuediversityofacoalitionmaywidentheinterestofmembersof
Congressinthecoalition’scause.Ontheotherhand,issuediversityamongitsmembership
maypullacoalitionintoomanydirections,potentiallyunderminingthefocusneededfor
successfulcollectiveaction.
Ideologyisimportantbecauseitcorrelateshighlywithpartisanshipinaneraofintense
partisanpolarization(Theriault2008).Ifcoalitionsareabletoformacrossideological
boundaries,diversitymayfacilitateovercomingvetopointsinpolicymaking(Sinclair2006).On
theotherhand,ideologicaldiversitymayprovetobeastumblingblockforcoalitions,especially
ifpartisanactorsattempttoenforcepartypurity(Murakami2008).Ofcourse,issueand
ideologicaldiversitymaycorrelatewithoneanotherbecause“issueownership”bypoliticians
oftencorrespondswithpartymembership(Egan2013).
IssueContextsandMembershipPreferences
Wedonotexpectcoalitionleaderstoexhibitastrictpreferenceforeitherdiversityor
homogeneity.Rather,weanticipatethatthepotentialbenefitsofcoalitiondiversitydepend
cruciallyonvariationsintheissuecontext.Thus,wehypothesizethatthepreferencesof
coalitionleadersfordiversitycorrespondswithfouraspectsoftheissuecontext:(1)the
partisanleanoftheissue;(2)thedegreeofcontroversyassociatedwiththeissue;(3)the
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distributionofbenefitsandcostssurroundingtheissue;and(4)theinstitutionalvenuewhere
theissueisbeingconsidered.
First,wehypothesizethatthepartisanleanoftheissuecorrespondswithcoalition
leaders’preferencesformembershipdiversity.AsGrossmannandHopkins(2016)argue,
Democratsaretypicallymotivatedlessbyideologicalpurityandmorebygroupheterogeneity.
Republicans,bycontrast,traditionallypreferideologicalpuritytoheterogeneity.Consequently,
amongcoalitionsfocusedonpartisanleaningissues,weexpectDemocraticleaningcoalitions
tovalueideologicaldiversitymorethandoneutral‐orRepublicanleaningcoalitions.Further,
thisexpectationarisesfromthestandingoftheDemocraticPartyastheminoritypartyin
Congressduringtheperiodofthisstudy.Whenacoalition’sleaderwishforitsproposalsto
gaintraction,itmustcontendwithhowwell(orpoorly)itsconcernsmatchwiththepresent
ideologicaldistributionofmembers.ForDemocraticleaningcoalitionstogaintractionin
Congress,suchcoalitionsmayneedideological“cover”fromnonliberalgroups.Inother
words,thesecoalitionsmaypossessagreaterneedforideologicaldiversitythanmayneutral‐
orRepublicanleaningcoalitions.Thus,wehypothesizethat:
H1a:CoalitionsfocusedonissuestraditionallyassociatedwiththeDemocraticParty
prefertobuildmoreideologicallydiversecoalitionsthancoalitionsthatareneutral
leaningorassociatedwiththeRepublicanParty.
However,bothDemocratic‐andRepublicanleaningcoalitionsmaybenefitorsufferfromthe
diversityintheissuefocioftheirmembers.Thus,wehypothesizethat:
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H1b:CoalitionsfocusedonissuestraditionallyassociatedwiththeDemocraticParty
prefertoattractmemberswithissuefocithatarenomoreorlessdiversethan
coalitionsthatareneutralleaningorassociatedwiththeRepublicanParty.
Second,werecognizethatcoalitionsmayhaveeitherpositiveornegativepreferences
fordiversitywhenissuesareespeciallycontroversial.Consistentwiththesignalingperspective,
diversecoalitionsinthewakeofcontroversymayindicatethatthecoalitionhasfoundawayto
resolvedifferencesamongkeystakeholders.Alongtheselines,Bacheller(1977)findsthat
groupsworkingoncontroversialissuesaremorelikelytoreachouttoothergroupsinthepolicy
processthanaregroupsworkingonissueswithlessdisagreement.Thus,coalitionleadersmay
prefertoattractmemberswithdiverseissuesandideologiesundertheseconditions.However,
consistentwiththecollaborativeperspective,controversymaymakeitmoredifficultfor
diversememberstoworktogether.Thus,coalitionleadersmayprefertoavoidbringinginnew
memberswithdiverseissuesandideologiesundertheseconditions.Thus,westatecompeting
hypotheses:
H2a:Whenthecoalition’sissueiscontroversial,coalitionsleadersaremorelikelyto
prefertoattractmembersthatarediverseintheirissuesandideologiesthanisthe
casewhenthecoalition’sissueisnotcontroversial.
H2b:Whenthecoalition’sissueiscontroversial,coalitionsleadersarelesslikelytoprefer
toattractmembersthatarediverseintheirissuesandideologiesthanisthecase
whenthecoalition’sissueisnotcontroversial.
Third,wehypothesizethatthedistributionofcostsandbenefitsamongthe
stakeholdersonanissuematterforcoalitionleaders’preferencesoverthediversityoftheir
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members.OurargumentfollowstheanalysisofWilson(1995),whodistinguishesfourtypesof
issuepolitics,basedonwhetheranissue’scostbearersandbeneficiariesareconcentratedor
diffuse.Whencostbearersandbeneficiariesaremismatched—thatis,whenonegroupis
diffuseandtheotherconcentrated—changeisunlikely.Clientpolitics,Wilsonargues,occurs
whenanissueorprogram’sbeneficiariesareconcentratedandthecostbearersarediffuse—
leavingproponentsofanissueorprogramfarmoreintenseintheiradvocacythanthecost
bearers.Programsbenefittingfromclientpolitics,then,areextremelydifficulttochangeor
remove.Entrepreneurialpoliticsworksinasimilarfashion.Inthiscase,thecostbearersarea
concentratedgroup,whereasthebeneficiariesarediffuse—renderingaparticularprogramor
issueextremelydifficulttogetstartedinthefirstplace.
Incontrasttothe“mismatch”ofclientandentrepreneurialpolitics,changeisagreater
possibilitywhencostbearersandbeneficiariesarematched—thatis,whenbothgroupsare
diffuseorconcentrated.Whenbothcostbearersandbeneficiariesareconcentrated,interest
grouppoliticsensues.Underinterestgrouppolitics,twosetsofintenseactorssparovera
contestedprogramorissue,untiloneortheotherprevails.Majoritarianpolitics,whichoccurs
whenbothcostbearersandbeneficiariesarebothdiffuse,issimilar.Undermajoritarian
politics,largegroupsofcostbearersandbeneficiariescontendoveraprogramorissue,until
thestrongersideprevails.Often,particularlyintheAmericansystem,thesidefavoringthe
statusquowins;however,thepotentialforchange(orevenapoliticalfightatall)isgreater
thanintheclientorentrepreneurialcases.
Ofthesefourtypesofpolitics,wearguethatcoalitionsdealingwithmajoritarianpolitics
aremostlikelytopreferbothideologicalandissuediversityintheirmemberships.Indeed,
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becausebothcostbearersandbeneficiariesarewideanddiffuseundermajoritarianpolitics,
coalitionsoperatinginmajoritariansituationsbenefitbybuildingtheircoalitionsasbroadlyas
possible,inordertoeffectchange.Thus,weposit:
H3:Coalitionsfocusedonmajoritarianissuesprefertobuildmorediversememberships
withrespecttoissuesandideologythandocoalitionsfocusedonotherissuetypes.
Fourth,wehypothesizethatpolicymakingvenueisakeyconsiderationincoalition
building.AsMcKay(2011)argues,lobbyistsmakestrategicchoicesbetweenlobbyingthe
bureaucracyandlobbyingthelegislature.Givenkeydifferencesinthemotivationsof
bureaucratsandlegislators,lobbyistslikelyadjusttheiradvocacystrategiesbasedontheir
choiceofvenue.Whenlobbyingthebureaucracy,forexample,coalitionsmayhaveto
demonstratebothlegalandpolicyexpertise,inordertobeheardbyregulators.Moreover,as
NelsonandYackee(2012)argue,messagecoherenceisparticularlyimportantwhenappealing
tofederalregulators.Thiscoherencemaybeindicatedbynarrownessintheissueexpertise
andideologiesofcoalitionmembers(Browne1990).Asaresult,onemightexpectcoalitions
whoprimarilytargetthebureaucracytoshyawayfromdiversityintheirmemberships.As
notedabove,suchdiversitycarrieswithitthepotentialfordissentand/oronlysurfacelevel
agreementonkeyissues.
Incontrast,legislativecoalitionsmaywellwanttopursuediversecoalitionsforavariety
ofreasons.Acoalitionmayfailtogainaccesswithalargenumberofcongressionaloffices,ifit
lacksatleastsomeconnectionwithonepartyortheother.Forinstance,theDefendersof
Wildlifemaystruggletogainameetingwithaconservative,ruralmemberCongressto
advocateforfundingforfederalrecreationallands,unlesstheyareabletopartnerwitha
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conservativegroupliketheNationalRifleAssociation.1Further,becauseamajorityofCongress
(and,onmanymajorissues,asupermajorityintheSenate)isrequiredforbillpassage,
coalitionstargetingCongressmayhavetosearchforwaystoappealtoalargergroupof
decisionmakersthantheywouldwhenlobbyingthebureaucracy.Forthesereasons,weposit:
H4:Whencoalitionsfocusonthelegislature,coalitionleadersprefertobuildmore
diversecoalitionswithrespecttoissuesandideologythanwhentheyfocusonthe
bureaucracy.
ResearchDesign
Dataforthispaperaredrawnfromamajorinterviewprojectof226coalitionleaders,
conductedbytheauthorsduringthesummersof2014and2015.Theinterviewsspancoalition
issueareas,partisanaffiliations,sizes,andawidevarietyofotherparameters.Tothebestof
ourknowledge,thesedataarethemostcomprehensivesetofinterviewswithcoalitionleaders
collectedtodate.Giventhefluidity(andoccasionally,secrecy)ofcoalitions,however,wetook
greatcaretoaddresspotentialsourcesofbiasinoursamplinganddatacollection.The
followingsectiondetailsourdatacollectionprocess,aswellasproceduresaddressingavariety
ofdataqualitychallenges.
SamplingStrategy
Ideally,afullyrepresentativesampleofcoalitionsshouldincludealltypesofcoalitions,
inproportiontotheirappearanceinthepopulation:rangingfromlargetosmall,formalto
informal,partisantononpartisan,cooperativetononcooperative,andsoon.Amajordifficulty

1Foranexamplealongtheselines,seetheCooperativeAllianceforRefugeEnhancement(Hirsche2006).
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inselectingsuchasample,however,comesfromthefactthepopulationofcoalitionsis
unknown.Thatis,theredoesnotexistanywherealistofalllobbyingcoalitionsorevenalist
ofmanylobbyingcoalitions.Moreover,becausemanycoalitionsexistonaninformalor
temporarybasis,theytypicallydonotgeneratethekindsofrecordsthatmaymakethem
amenabletosystematicinvestigation.Forexample,coalitionsarelesslikelythansometypesof
advocacyorganizationstomakecampaigncontributions,registertolobby,establisha
permanentoffice,ormaintainawebpage.Theabsenceofthistypeofinformationcomplicates
theprocessofidentifyingandsamplingcoalitionsforstatisticalanalysis.
Inordertoidentifycoalitionsforanalysis,weproceededinfoursteps.First,weselected
arandomsampleofinterestgroups,usingrecordsfiledincompliancewiththeLobbying
DisclosureAct.Whilenotallinterestgroupsregisterunderthislaw,anextensionofthelaw
throughTheHonestLeadershipandOpenGovernmentActof2007(PublicLaw110–81)ensures
thatthemostactiveinterestgroupsareregistered.Second,weconductedtelephone
interviewswithrandomlyselectedlobbyistsfromtheidentifiedinterestgroups.Selecting
lobbyistsrandomlyfromwithinthegroupsensuresthatthereisnobiastowardanyparticular
typeofcoalition,especiallysincedifferentlobbyistsfromthesameinterestgroupmayvaryin
theissuesandcoalitionsforwhichtheyactasrepresentativesofthegroup.Third,the
telephoneinterviewsincludedquestionsaboutwhichcoalitionsthelobbyisthadworkedwithin
thepasttwelvemonths,inordertogeneratealistofcoalitionsforeachrespondent.We
invited1250lobbyiststoparticipateinthestudy,with380completingtheinterview,fora
responserateof30percent.Theinterviewsalsoincludedquestionsaskingtherespondentsto
ratethecoalitionsonthebasisoftheircooperativenessandeffectiveness(andidentifyaleader
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foreachcoalition),whileatthesametimeacquiringdemographicandotherbackground
informationabouttherespondents.TheinterviewscheduleisavailableintheAppendix.
Fourth,onecoalitionwasrandomlyselectedfromeachtelephoneinterviewtocreateasample
ofcoalitions.Onceasampleofcoalitionswasidentified,therepresentativesofthesecoalitions
wereinvitedtoparticipateininpersoninterviewsintheWashington,DCmetroarea.
Whilewetookcaretoensurethatoursamplewasasrepresentativeaspossibleofthe
populationofcoalitions,thedesigndoescarrythepossibilityofsomebias.Oneconcernof
particularimportanceforourresearchdesignislengthbias.Lengthbiasisacommonsampling
problemthatoccurswhensubgroupsofapopulationareoversampledbecauseoftheirsize
(SteinandDattero1985).Inourcase,webelievelengthbiasismanifestinourresearchdesign
throughtheoversamplingoflargecoalitions.Thatis,becauseourphoneinterviewssample
membersofcoalitionsandlargecoalitionshavemoremembers,largecoalitionsaremorelikely
tobementionedinourinterviews.Asaresult,theyaremorelikelytobeselectedintoour
sampleofcoalitions.Traditionally,probabilityweightsofferasolutiontothissortofbias,as
eachobservationisweightedaccordingtoitsinverseprobabilityofselectionintothesample
(basedonthesamplingdesign).Wearepresentlyintheprocessofbuildingsuchweights,using
thesizesofcoalitions(selectedandunselected)asthebasisfortheweights.Giventhatthis
datacollectioniscurrentlyongoing,thepresentdraftofthispaperincorporatescoalitionsize
intoourregressionmodelstoaccountimperfectlyforthisbias.
Asafinalprecaution,wehavealsocheckedformeasurableresponsebiasinoursample.
Toaddressthispossibility,wecollecteddemographicinformationonthosewhowereinvitedto
beinterviewedandcompiledadditionalinformationabouttheirorganizationsandassociated
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coalitionsviapublicresources.Usingthisinformation,weestimatedavarietyofselection
models,assessingtherepresentativenessofourcoalitionandrespondentsamplesonanumber
ofdimensions.Whilewearestillintheprocessofexpandingthisdatacollectiontotheentire
sampleofphoneandinpersoninvitees,thesemodelshaveuncoverednoresponsebiasesin
termsofintervieweegender,race,yearsofexperience,revolverstatus,highprofilepolitics
employment(i.e.,beingaSenateconfirmedbureaucratoraformermemberofCongress),or
inhouseversuscontractstatus.Withregardtotheactualcoalitionssampled,wehavefound
noresponsebiaseswithregardtothecoalitions'registrationstatus,possessionofawebsite,or
useofinhouseversuscontractlobbyists.
InterviewStructure
Aftercoalitionswereidentified,inpersoninterviewswereconductedwitheach
consentingcoalitionleader.Weinvited339coalitionrepresentativestoparticipateinthe
study,with226ofthemultimatelycompletinginterviews,yieldingaresponserateof67
percent.Theresearchdesignputsapremiumonconductinginpersoninterviewswithcoalition
leaders,becauseinpersoninterviewsareespeciallyamenabletobuildingrespondent
interviewertrustwhengatheringsensitiveinformationfrompoliticalelites(Berry2002).
However,telephoneinterviewswereconductedinafewcaseswherearespondentwaswilling
toparticipateintheresearchbutaninpersoninterviewwasimpractical.Thetypicalinterview
lasted45minutestoanhour.Theinterviewsinquiredabouttheidentitiesofmembersofthe
coalition,howmemberswereselectedbythecoalition,whotheirleadersare,theextentof
theircooperativenessandeffectiveness,theirformalandinformalorganizationalstructures,
issuecontexts,andotherfactorsrelevanttocoalitiondynamics.Theinterviewsincludedamix
15
ofclosed‐andopenendedquestionsinordertoenablebothquantitativeandqualitative
analysisoftheresponses.TheinterviewscheduleisavailableintheAppendix.
EmpiricalModel
Thepurposeofourempiricalmodelistoexplaincoalitionleaders’preferencesfor
diversityofcoalitionmembership.Weassessthesepreferencesusingtwodependent
variables:PreferenceforIdeologicalDiversityandPreferenceforIssueDiversity.Bothofthese
variablesaremeasuredusingquestionsfromourinterview.Respondentswereshownalistof
“CriteriaforSelectingaNewCoalitionPartner”andaskedtoratethesecriteriaas“Very
Important”(scoreof3),“SomewhatImportant”(2),or“NotaConsideration”(1).Amongthe
tenoptionstheywerepresentedwere“Theorganizationbringsanideologicalposition
DIFFERENTfromothercoalitionmembers”and“TheorganizationrepresentsDIFFERENT
concerns,issues,and/orintereststhanothercoalitionmembers”(emphasisinoriginal).
Wemodelresponsestothesetwoquestionsinthestyleofseeminglyunrelated
regressions(Zelner1962).Thisapproachallowsusincorporateinformationaboutthefactthat
theerrorsofthetwoequationsarelikelycorrelatedbecauseofcasesinwhichleadershavea
generalpreferencefororagainstdiversitythatisnotspecifictoissuesorideology.Giventhat
thedependentvariablesaremeasuredattheordinallevel,anapproachisneededthat
estimatestwoorderedprobitmodelssimultaneously.Weuseatwostagemixedprocess
estimatortodoso(Roodman2011).Missingvaluesareimputedusingcompletecase
imputation(Little1988).
16
InordertotestH1aandH1b,wecodedthepartisanleanofcoalitionsintothreevariables:
RepublicanPartyLean,DemocraticPartyLean,andNeutralPartyLean(theresidualcategory).
ForRepublicanPartyLean,wecodedacoalitionwithavalueof1ifitsprincipalissuewas
typicallyassociatedwiththeRepublicanParty,0otherwise.Examplesincludetheremovalof
theestatetax,promotionofschoolchoice,andrelieffromAffordableCareActrequirements.
ForDemocraticPartyLean,wecodedacoalitionwithavalueof1ifitsprincipalissuewas
typicallyassociatedwiththeDemocraticParty,0otherwise.Examplesincludeincreasesin
environmentalprotection,guaranteeingsocialwelfarebenefits,andimmigrationleniencyfor
undocumentedworkers.Coalitionsnotfallingintooneofthesecategorieswerereservedfor
NeutralPartyLean.Examplesincludefundingforhearinghealth,surfacetransportation
efficiency,harbormaintenance,andrulesfornonprofitcharitabledeductions.
InordertotestH2aandH2b,weutilizedaquestionfromtheinterviewthatasked
respondentstoassessIssueControversy.Respondentswereasked,“Howcontroversialisthe
issueintermsofthelikelihoodthatattentiveconstituenciesaretodisagreeabouttheissue?”
Forthisquestion,optionsincluded“VeryControversial”(scoredas3),“Somewhat
Controversial”(2),and“NotatallControversial”(1).
InordertotestH3,wecodedcoalitionsintofourcategories:MajoritarianPolitics,
InterestGroupPolitics,EntrepreneurialPolitics,andClientPolitics(theresidualcategory).A
coalitionwascodedasMajoritarianPoliticswhenitsprincipalissueisonewhereboththe
benefitsandcostsoftheproposedpolicyarewidelydistributedamongmembersofthepublic,
0otherwise.Examplesincludeimmigrationliberalization,toplinedeficitreduction,and
marijuanalegalization.AcoalitionwascodedasInterestGroupPoliticswhenitsprincipalissue
17
isonewhereboththebenefitsandcostsoftheproposedpolicyarereceivedbynarrow
stakeholders,0otherwise.Examplesincludeworkplacesafetydisputes,sugarsubsidies,and
onlinesalestax.AcoalitionwascodedasEntrepreneurialPoliticswhenitsprincipalissueisone
wherethebenefitsoftheproposedpolicywouldbereceivedbythepublicatlargebutthecosts
wouldbepaidbyanarrowsetofstakeholders,0otherwise.Examplesincludeprohibitionofoil
drilling,Medicarepaymentoversight,andconsumerproductsafety.Acoalitionwascodedas
ClientPolitics(theresidualcategory)whenitsprincipalissueisonewherethebenefitsofthe
proposedpolicywouldbereceivedbyanarrowsetofstakeholders,butthecostswouldbepaid
bythepublicatlarge.Examplesincludeindustryspecifictaxcredits,fundingforresearchgrant
programs,andMedicarecoverageofparticularmedicalservices.
InordertotestH4,weuseddatafromaninterviewquestionaboutthefoundinggoalsof
thecoalition.Welookedattwooftheeightoptionsrespondentswereoffered.Support
Legislationwascodedusing“Thecoalitionwasfoundedtosupportaparticularpieceof
legislation(emphasisinoriginal),with“Agree”receivingascoreof3,“SomewhatTrue”a
scoreof2,and“Disagree”ascoreof1.SupportGovernmentActionwascodedusing“The
coalitionwasfoundedtosupportaparticulargovernmentaction,rulemakingdecision,or
implementationdecision”(emphasisinoriginal),with“Agree”receivingascoreof3,
“SomewhatTrue”ascoreof2,and“Disagree”ascoreof1.
Additionally,ourempiricalmodelcontainsthreecontrolvariables.Ithasmeasuresof
CoalitionAgeandCoalitionSteeringCommittee,basedupondirectquestionsintheinterview.
Further,ithasameasureofCoalitionSizebasedonthemembershiplistprovidedbythe
18
coalitionrepresentativeintheintervieworbasedonhis/herbestestimateofsizeinthefew
caseswhensuchalistwasunavailable.
StatisticalResults
Thepreferencesofcoalitionleadersleanedslightlyawayfromformingdiverse
coalitions,preferringinsteadtoallywithpartnersthatwereclosetotheminissuesand
ideology.TheyviewedIssueDiversityinamorepositivelightthanIdeologicalDiversity.About
21percentofleadersthoughtthatIssueDiversitywas“VeryImportant”inselectingnew
members,31percentsawitas“SomewhatImportant”,and47percentjudgedittobe“Nota
Consideration”.About10percentofleadersthoughtthatIdeologicalDiversitywas“Very
Important”inselectingnewmembers,27percentsawitas“SomewhatImportant”,and63
percentjudgedittobe“NotaConsideration”.Inexplainingthisvariation,wefoundmixed
supportforourhypotheses.Estimatesofourtwostagemixedprocessmodelarereportedin
Table1.
INSERTTABLE1HERE
Thepartisanleanofthecoalition’sissueappearstoplaynosignificantroleshapinga
coalition’spreferencesoverdiversity,yieldingnosupportforH1aorH1b.IssueControversy,
however,isimportant.Whenacoalition’sissueismorecontroversial,leadersexpressagreater
preferenceforIssueDiversityinthecoalition’smembership,inlinewithH2a.However,the
sameisnottrueforIdeologicalDiversity.ConsistentwithH3,wefindthatcoalitionleaders
expressagreaterpreferenceforIdeologicalDiversitywhenthecoalition’sissueisrootedin
MajoritarianPolitics.However,thesameisnottruewithrespecttopreferencesoverIssue
19
Diversity.OurmodelprovidessupportforH4,thatcoalitionsthataremorefocusedonthegoal
toSupportLegislationalsoregisterstrongerpreferencesforIdeologicalDiversity.Nevertheless,
thesametendencydoesnotholdforIssueDiversity.
Thecontrolvariablesmakeadifferenceinthemodel.AnolderCoalitionAgeis
coincidentwithsignificantlylesserpreferencesfordiversity,bothwithrespecttoissuesand
ideology.Itcouldbethecasethatoldercoalitionshavealreadyhadtheopportunitytobuild
diversememberships,ifthatisoneoftheirstrategicgoals,andthusmaynotneedtoaddmore
memberstoachievediversity.Or,itcouldbethecaseoldercoalitionsplacealessofavalueon
diversitysincetheywerefoundedinanerawhenitwasalessrelevantpoliticalconsideration
thanwasthecaseformorerecentlyfoundedcoalitions.Finally,itispossiblethatdiverse
coalitionsarelesslikelytosurvivelonginWashington,duetothehigherpotentialforincreased
internecineconflictthanmaybethecasewithmorehomogenouscoalitions.
ThepresenceofaSteeringCommitteewasnotassociatedwithstrongerorweaker
preferencesfordiversity.AlargerCoalitionSizewasassociatedwithstrongerpreferencesfor
IssueDiversitybutnotIdeologicalDiversity.Theseeffectsmaybeendogenousbecause
coalitionsmaygetlargerpreciselybecausetheyfavorIssueDiversity.Despitethispotential
endogeneityproblem,itisnecessarytoretainCoalitionSizeinthecurrentmodelinorderto
makean(albeitimperfect)adjustmentforlengthbias.Thisvariablewillbedroppedinafuture
iterationoftheanalysisoncepropersurveyweightstoadjustforlengthbiasareavailable.
Thesignificant,positivecoefficientonArctangentrevealsthatthedecisiontomodel
thetwodependentvariablesasasystemofequationswasappropriate.Doingsoimprovesthe
efficiencyoftheestimationprocessoverestimatingseparateequationsforeachdependent
20
variable.However,whenweestimateseparateequationsusingstandardorderedprobit
models,wereachthesameconclusionsregardingourhypothesistests.So,whilethereisa
staticallysignificantdifferencebetweentheapproaches,thereisnotasubstantivelyrelevant
difference.
Conclusion
Coalitionleaders’expressionofapreferenceformembershipdiversityisnoguarantee
thattheircoalitionsactuallyachievediversity.However,ifcoalitionleadersexpress
preferencesagainstmembershipdiversity,itseemsunlikelythattheywillmovetheircoalitions
inthedirectionofbecomingmorediverse.Thus,thisstudyoffersanimportantnewinsight
intothepoliticsofconstructinginterestgroupcoalitions:thecentraltendencyofWashington,
DCcoalitionsistoleanawayfromapreferenceforgreaterdiversityinmembership.This
avoidanceisgreaterforideologicaldiversitythanforissuediversity.Ratherthanseekingto
gatherstrangebedfellows,thenormalcourseofcoalitionconstructionisaboutfindingbirdsof
afeathertoflocktogether.Totheextentthattheyarerepresentativeinstitutions,coalitions
areamechanismthattendstoreinforcethespecialization,narrowness,andexclusivenessin
representationthatisstereotypicalofinterestgrouppolitics.
Atthesametime,ourfindingsdemonstratethatthereisvariationamongcoalitionsin
howtheirmembersseektoconstructcoalitions.Indeed,therearesomeconditionsunder
whichdiversityisespeciallyvalued.Whencoalitionsareimmersedinmajoritarianpolitics,then
theirleadersaremorelikelytoprefertoreachouttoideologicallydiverseallies.Likewise,
coalitionleadersengagedinlegislativepoliticsaremorelikelytopreferideologicaldiversity
21
thanarethosewhoareengagedinbureaucraticpolitics.Issuediversityisprizedespecially
whenissuesarecontroversial.However,undermanyotherconditions,coalitionleaders
expressnospecialpreferenceformembershipdiversity,suchasinthecasesofentrepreneurial,
client,andinterestgrouppolitics.Similarly,ourresultsindicatethatcoalitionsassociatedwith
neitherpartyexpressespeciallystrongerpreferenceforcoalitionalmembershipdiversity
whichisatoddswiththerecentargumentGrossmannandHopkins(2016)thatDemocratshave
moreofatendencytowardinterestheterogeneitythandoRepublicans.
Despitethesomewhatprovocativeimplicationsofourfindings,wewouldberemissif
wedidnotadvisemorethantheusualamountofcautionininterpretingourresults.Weare
particularlyconcernedwithhowthepotentialforlengthbiasmayaffectourconclusions.While
wehavetakenprecautionsbyincludingCoalitionSizeinourmodeltoadjustforthispossibility,
theissueisinneedofmuchcloserconsiderationbeforetheresultsaretobefullytrusted.
Thispreliminarypapermerelyscratchesofthesurfaceofwhatwemaybeabletolearn
aboutcoalitionpoliticsfromtheoriginaldatasetonwhichthispaperisbased.Wehave
membershiplistsfor95percentofthecoalitionsinthestudy.Theseliststhemselvesarean
extremelyvaluablesourceofdata.Weareintheprocessofcompilingofadatabaseofthe
thousandsoforganizationsincludedontheselists.Weplantomatchthesedatatootherkinds
ofpoliticalinformation,suchascampaigncontributions.Doingsowillallowustoincorporate
informationonhowthemembershippreferencesofcoalitionleaderscorrespond(ornot)tothe
actualmembershipsoftheircoalitions.Suchinformationwouldprovidegranulardetailon
coalitionnetworksthatwouldfacilitateassessingthecausalprocessesofforminganddissolving
thesealliances(Fowleretal.2011).
22
Thepromiseofthisresearchistooffergreaterinsightonhowcoalitionsactas
institutionsthatforgelinksacrossnominallydistinctfieldsofpolitics,especiallybetween
interestgroupsandpoliticalparties(Cohenetal.2008;FraussenandHalpin2016;Heaneyand
Rojas2015).Parties,groups,andcoalitionsofferdifferenttoolsforattemptingtoexert
influencepolitics.Yetthesetoolsallusedbythesameunderlyingactorswhoseektopromote
theirowninterests.Byexploringmoredeeplyhowtheseorganizationsarefundamentally
interrelatedwithoneanother,itispossibletopushtowardgreaterinsightonthetension
betweenorganizingtorepresentelitesandorganizingtorepresentordinarycitizens.

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27
Table1.DeterminantsofPreferencesforIssueandIdeologicalDiversityofNewMembers
IdeologicalIssueDescriptiveImputation
DiversityDiversityStatistics
CoefficientMean Percent
(Std.Error)(Std.Dev.)Imputed
RepublicanPartyLean0.230‐0.3070.1171.77%
 (0.291)(0.267)(0.319)
DemocraticPartyLean0.3710.1540.2431.77%
(0.223)(0.212)(0.427)
IssueControversy0.0370.294*2.1330.00%
(0.122)(0.115)(0.811)
MajoritarianPolitics0.618*0.4010.1703.10%
(0.260)(0.252)(0.370)
InterestGroupPolitics0.0410.1940.3433.10%
(0.229)(0.214)(0.469)
EntrepreneurialPolitics0.763‐0.2520.0323.54%
(0.485)(0.504)(0.174)
SupportLegislation0.212*0.0261.9573.10%
(0.106)(0.099)(0.813)
SupportGovernmentAction0.0750.0701.7243.54%
(0.103)(0.098)(0.832)
CoalitionAge0.025*‐0.037***9.9223.98%
(0.010)(0.009)(12.159)
CoalitionSteeringCommittee0.0130.0972.1722.65%
(0.106)(0.101)(0.810)
CoalitionSize0.0000.002*87.6773.10%
(0.000)(0.000)(248.669)
CutPoint110.925*
(0.402)
CutPoint121.960***
(0.418)
CutPoint210.815*
(0.379)
CutPoint221.789***
(0.390)
Arctangent0.538***
(0.104)
N 224
LogLikelihood‐377.998
LikelihoodRatio261.90***
 
***p 0.001, **p 0.01, *p 0.05.
28
Appendix.InterviewInstruments
1
Working Together in Washington:
Assessing Collaboration within Coalitions of Interest Groups
Instrument for Lobbyist Interviews
Revised December 7, 2014
Introduction
Hello, may I please speak with __________?
My name is __________ and I am a __________ at the University of Michigan.
I am conducting research on the extent to which advocacy organizations work in coalitions with
other organizations. As part of this project, I am building a database of interest-group coalitions
in the United States. For this purpose, I am interviewing hundreds of advocates to ask a few
short questions about your involvement in interest group coalitions.
Would you be willing to participate in a brief, 15-minute interview on how you do or do not
work with coalitions? It is anonymous and is strictly for academic research. If you participate,
you would be free to skip any question that you wish not to answer or end the interview at any
time without penalty to you. Participating in the interview would not expose you to any
significant risks or provide you any benefits.
[Receive respondent’s response.]
Questions
1. As you are aware, a coalition exists any time two or more advocacy organizations choose
to work together on a common advocacy project.
A. Thinking only of the past 12 months, which coalitions have you personally worked
with?
B. For each coalition, please tell me the issue area that it works on?
C. I am interested in all types of interest group coalitions—small and large, formal and
informal, ad hoc and permanent, etc.—so please take as much time as you need to list
all of the coalitions in which you’ve taken part. Are there any coalitions that you
would like to add to the list?
D. So, you have told me that you have worked with the following coalitions over the past
year. [Read list.] Are there any other coalitions that you would like to add to this list?
E. Are there any other coalitions?
2
2. For each coalition that you just mentioned, in comparison to other coalitions of which
you have been a part, how cooperative are the members of this coalition in working
together? [Solicit an answer for each coalition named.]
_____ Much more cooperative
_____ Somewhat more cooperative
_____ About typical
_____ Somewhat less cooperative
_____ Much less cooperative
3. For each coalition that you just mentioned, considering the issues that the coalition has
worked on in the past year, how effective do you think that it has been in achieving its
goals? [Solicit an answer for each coalition named.]
_____ Highly effective
_____ Somewhat effective
_____ Not at all effective
4. [At this point in the interview, the interviewer uses a random number generator to select
one and only one of the coalitions identified in question 1.] I have just randomly selected
____________ from the list of coalitions that you just provided me. Could you tell me:
A. Who is the leader of this coalition? _______________________________________
B. Which organization does ____________ work for? __________________________
C. [If the respondent gives the name of an organization in question 5.A., then ask:] Is
there an individual person in organization ___________ that acts as a leader for the
coalition? ___________________________________________________________
D. [If the respondent says that there is no leader of the coalition, or many leaders, then
ask:] Is there someone whom you believe would know the most about the history and
inner-workings of the coalition? If so, could you tell me their name and
organizational affiliation? ______________________________________________
5. Demographic questions. I would like to ask a few brief demographic questions in order
to assess the representativeness of the sample. As I mentioned earlier, you are free to
skip any questions you don't wish to answer.
A. [Interviewer records sex/gender without asking.]
B. Could you tell me how many years you have worked for [your organization]?
C. Could you tell me how many years you have been a registered lobbyist?
D. Have you ever worked for Congress or a member of Congress?
3
E. Have you ever worked for a federal government agency?
F. Could you tell me the year in which you were born?
G. Could you tell me how you identify your race/ethnicity?
H. Could you tell me, do you personally identify as a Democratic, a Republican, or a
member of another party? Or, do you prefer not to identify with any party?
I. Could you tell me, where would you place yourself on the right to left ideological
spectrum? Are you: (i) to the right of very conservative; (ii) very conservative; (iii)
somewhat conservative; (iv) moderate; (v) somewhat liberal or progressive; (vi) very
liberal or progressive; (vii) to the left of very liberal or progressive. Or do you not
think of yourself as being on this spectrum?
Conclusion
Thank you for your time. Would you like for me to send you a copy of the results when the
study is completed? _____________________________________________________________
[If yes, then ask:] How would you like me to send it to you? ____________________________
Please let me know the e-mail or postal address that you prefer. __________________________
1
Working Together in Washington:
Assessing Collaboration within Coalitions of Interest Groups
Instrument for Coalition Leaders
Revised December 7, 2014
Introduction
Thank you for making the time to meet with me today.
As we discussed earlier, I am conducting research on the organization, inner workings, and
effectiveness of advocacy coalitions. As part of this project, we are currently conducting
anonymous interviews with hundreds of coalition leaders in order to understand why coalitions
do what they do.
I expect today’s interview to take about 30-45 minutes. 60 minutes would be the absolute
longest it would take. The interview would cover the founding of the coalition, its membership
composition, its internal operations, the issues it works on, its political targets, and its
effectiveness in influencing public policy outcomes, as well as a few personal questions about
yourself. Your responses would be anonymized so that you would not be identifiable from the
interview data.
The interview responses you provide would be used strictly for academic research. If you
participate, you would be free to skip any question that you wish not to answer or end the
interview at any time without penalty to you. Participating in the interview would not expose
you to any significant risks or provide you any significant benefits.
Are you willing to participate in the interview?
[Receive respondent’s response.]
Coalition Founding
1. To the best of your knowledge, in approximately what year was the coalition founded?
2. To the best of your knowledge, what were the motivations for the formation of the
coalition? Was there a particular issue that the coalition sought to address?
2
3. PLEASE LOOK AT CARD A. To the best of your knowledge, which of the following
goals motivated the creation of the coalition? Indicate all that apply:
CARD A: FOUNDING GOALS
Founding Goal Agree Somewhat
True Disagree
The coalition was founded to support a particular piece of
legislation.
The coalition was founded to oppose a particular piece of
legislation.
The coalition was founded to support a particular government
action, rulemaking decision, or implementation decision.
The coalition was founded to oppose a particular government
action, rulemaking decision, or implementation decision.
The coalition was founded to support the continued existence
or funding of a particular government agency or program.
The coalition was founded to oppose the continued existence or
funding of a particular government agency or program.
The coalition was founded to better inform the public at large
about a particular policy issue or problem.
The coalition was founded for some other purpose, namely:
3
4. To the best of your knowledge, was the coalition founded largely:
to preserve the status quo
to advance a modest change in the status quo
to advance a major change in the status quo
Nature of the Issue
5. Which issue has the coalition been most active on over the past year?
6. Considering the issue that you named in the previous question, how sensitive is this issue
in terms of the likelihood that attentive constituencies find discussions of the issue to be
upsetting or offensive?
Not very sensitive
Somewhat sensitive
Very sensitive
7. How controversial is the issue in terms of the likelihood that attentive constituencies are
to disagree about the issue?
Not very controversial
Somewhat controversial
Very controversial
8. How broad is this issue in terms of the size of the constituency that is interested in it?
Not very broad
Somewhat broad
Very broad
9. How high is the issue on the current agendas of relevant decision makers in government?
On the backburner
Actively being discussed
Political action on this issue is presently taking place
10. How urgent is the issue, in terms of the timeframe within which it needs to be resolved?
Not that time sensitive
Needs to be resolved in the next five years
Must be resolved this year or next
4
Strategy and Tactics
11. PLEASE LOOK AT CARD B. When the coalition is working on the issue that you
highlighted earlier, what is the frequency with which the coalition targets each of the
following actors:
CARD B: INSTITUTIONAL TARGETS
Institutional Target Frequently Occasionally Never
Republican Party Leaders in Congress
Democratic Party Leaders in Congress
Congressional Committees within Jurisdiction
Congressional Caucuses
Rank-and-File Members of Congress
The White House / Executive Office of the
President
Federal Government Agency or Department
The Federal Judiciary
State or Local Governments
Opposing Advocacy Organizations or Coalitions
Private Corporations
Other:
5
12. PLEASE LOOK AT CARD C. When the coalition is working on the issue that you
highlighted earlier, which of the following strategies characterizes your work with
government decision-makers? Indicate all that apply:
CARD C: OUTREACH TO SUPPORTERS
Outreach Efforts Frequently Occasionally Never
We concentrate on collaborating with our key allies
in government.
We concentrate on reaching out to a broad range of
supporters in government (i.e., beyond just key
allies).
We concentrate on reaching out to our opponents in
government.
We concentrate on reaching out to supporters
outside of government.
We concentrate on reaching out to opponents
outside of government.
6
13. PLEASE LOOK AT CARD D. When your coalition is working on the issue you named
earlier, which of the following tactics does it use? And how often does it use them?
CARD D: TACTICS
Tactic Frequently Occasionally Never
Lobbying
Congressional testimony
Formal comments on proposed regulations
Press releases / press conferences
Paid advertising
Opinion Polls/research projects
Amicus curiae briefs in federal courts
Sponsoring Lawsuits
Grassroots Organizing
Other:
7
Criteria for Choosing Coalition Partners
14. PLEASE LOOK AT CARD E. When you are attempting to attract new organizations to
join the coalition, what do you look for in potential new coalition partners?
CARD E: COALITION PARTNERS
Criterion for Selecting a New Coalition Partner Very
Important Somewhat
Important Not a
Consideration
The organization represents SIMILAR concerns,
issues, and/or interests as other coalition members
The organization represents DIFFERENT
concerns, issues, and/or interests than other
coalition members.
The organization brings an ideological position
SIMILAR to other coalition members.
The organization brings an ideological position
DIFFERENT from other coalition members.
The organization and/or its representatives is well
known to existing coalition members.
The organization has demonstrated a willingness
and ability to work hard on issues important to the
coalition.
The organization has monetary resources valuable
to the coalition.
The organization has critical expertise valuable to
the coalition.
The organization has a sizeable constituency.
The organization is well known and influential in
national policy debates.
Other:
8
Coalition Membership
15. To the best of your knowledge, when the coalition was founded, was there a particular
goal for the coalition’s size? What was that goal? Why was it set as it was?
16. To what extent, if at all, has the coalition revisited its original goals for size? Why has it
done so?
17. Given the goals of the coalition, would you say that the current size of the coalition is
Much too large
Somewhat too large
About the right size
Somewhat too small
Much too small
18. Why do you think that?
19. Approximately how many organizations are members of the coalition? Is there a list of
the organizational members of the coalition? If so, may I please have a copy?
20. Please look at the list of members of the coalition. Which of the organizations on this list
act as leaders of the coalition? By “leaders,” I mean organizations that actively help to
guide the work and agenda of the coalition. (If the respondent is not willing to divulge
the list of leaders, ask if, instead, she or he could provide an approximate count of the
number of leaders.)
Internal Operations
21. In comparison to other coalitions of which you have been a part, how cooperative are the
members of this coalition in working together?
Much more cooperative
Somewhat more cooperative
About typical
Somewhat less cooperative
Much less cooperative
22. In comparison to other coalitions of which you have been a part, how divided are the
coalition members on the issue identified earlier?
Much more divided
Somewhat more divided
About typical
Somewhat less divided
Much less divided
9
23. In some coalitions, some member-groups form relationships that extend beyond the work
of the host coalition. In comparison to other coalitions of which you have been a part,
how likely are the members of this coalition to work together in such sub-coalitions?
Much more likely
Somewhat more likely
About typical
Somewhat less likely
Much less likely
24. Is there a steering committee or other formal leadership structure within the coalition?
25. PLEASE LOOK AT CARD F. Which of the following features characterize the
governance of the coalition? Indicate all that apply:
CARD F: GOVERNANCE OF THE COALITION
Decision-making Mechanism Usually Sometimes Never
Critical decisions of the coalition are made by a central
coalition coordinator.
Critical decisions of the coalition are made by a steering
committee of leading members.
Critical decisions of the coalition are made by a majority of its
members.
Critical decisions of the coalition are made by consensus of its
members.
Critical decisions of the coalition are made using formal
procedures (as opposed to informal agreement).
Other:
26. How does the coalition decide which issues to work on?
27. Do member organizations in the coalition pay dues?
10
28. Is there a coalition coordinator that is paid specifically for his/her work with the
coalition? If so, who is that?
29. In a typical month, how often does the coalition meet? Or does it meet less often than
monthly?
30. Does the coalition have a web site? What is the web address?
Effectiveness
31. Considering the issues that the coalition has worked on in the past year, how effective do
you think that it has been in achieving its goals:
From your personal perspective;
_____ Highly effective
_____ Somewhat effective
_____ Not at all effective
From the perspective of other members of the coalition;
_____ Highly effective
_____ Somewhat effective
_____ Not at all effective
From the perspective of other lobbyists and advocacy organization (not in the coalition);
_____ Highly effective
_____ Somewhat effective
_____ Not at all effective
From the perspective of interested policymakers
_____ Highly effective
_____ Somewhat effective
_____ Not at all effective
11
32. At the present time, what are your expectations for the continued existence of the
coalition?
_____ The coalition will continue to exist for a number of years
_____ The coalition will likely disband within a year or so
_____ The coalition will likely disband within the coming months
_____ The coalition is already disbanded or is in the process of disbanding
33. What do you think explains the coalition’s effectiveness or ineffectiveness? What
explains any differences in perception among different audiences?
Personal Questions
34. [Interviewer records sex/gender without asking.]
35. Could you tell me how many years you have been a registered lobbyist?
36. How central are coalitions to the work that you do as a policy advocate?
Most of my work takes place in coalition.
I work in coalitions often, but not all the time.
I work in coalitions occasionally.
I almost never work in coalitions.
37. Over the course of your career, how varied has been your experience working in
coalitions?
My coalition work has dealt with a wide variety of issues.
My coalition work has concentrated on one issue area, but I have been involved
with coalitions on a few other issues.
Most of the coalitions I have worked on have dealt with similar issues.
I have worked in too few coalitions to generalize on this point.
38. Have you ever worked for Congress or a member of Congress?
39. Have you ever worked for a federal government agency?
40. Could you tell me the year in which you were born?
41. Could you tell me how you identify your race/ethnicity?
42. Could you tell me, do you personally identify as a Democrat, a Republican, or a member
of another party? Or, do you prefer not to identify with any party?
12
43. Could you tell me, where would you place yourself on the right to left ideological
spectrum? Are you: (i) to the right of very conservative; (ii) very conservative; (iii)
somewhat conservative; (iv) moderate; (v) somewhat liberal or progressive; (vi) very
liberal or progressive; (vii) to the left of very liberal or progressive. Or do you not think
of yourself as being on this spectrum?
Conclusion
44. Is there anything that I have not asked you about that you would like to add?
45. Would you like for me to send you a copy of the results when the study is completed? [If
yes, then ask:] How would you like me to send it to you? Please let me know the e-mail
or postal address that you prefer.
Thank you for your participation.
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