Robert M. La Follette School of Public Affairs
Friday, April 5, 2019

April 12: Yackee on interest group influence

Susan Webb Yackee Susan Webb Yackee

La Follette School Director and Professor Susan Webb Yackee will present her research on government policy making as part of UW–Madison’s Institute for Legal Studies’ Compliance Initiative Speaker Series at noon Friday, April 12.

Yackee’s hour-long presentation, Hidden Politics: Interest Group Influence during US Regulatory Policy Making, will be in Room 3260 of the Law School. Yackee will test the proposition that interest groups exert more influence over government policy making when they lobby in less publicly transparent political environments (read the paper)

A professor of public affairs and political science, Yackee argues that opacity provides greater flexibility for government officials to accommodate interest group lobbying requests. She analyzes the argument during the development of 40-plus regulations by one important U.S. government agency—approximately half of which were promulgated using a relatively transparent process and the other half via a relatively opaque process.

She employs content analysis to measure regulatory policy change, as well as a telephone survey of interest groups who lobbied on these same regulations. She finds that groups perceive—and achieve—greater policy success when lobbying in less transparent environments. A survey experiment provides additional suggestive support for the proposition. The results begin to unpack the long-discussed link between lobbying, public transparency, and government policy change.

The Midwest Public Administration Caucus recently named Yackee the recipient of the Herbert A. Simon Career Contribution Award – the highest award in the field of political science for the study of bureaucracy and public administration. Her article Clerks or Kings? Partisan Alignment and Delegation to the U.S. Bureaucracy (with Christine Palus) won the 2017 Beryl Radin Award for the best article in the Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory.