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Access PointsAn Institutional Theory of Policy Bias and Policy Complexity$
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Sean D. Ehrlich

Print publication date: 2011

Print ISBN-13: 9780199737536

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2012

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199737536.001.0001

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What Are Access Points and What Are Their Effects?

What Are Access Points and What Are Their Effects?

(p.24) Chapter 2 What Are Access Points and What Are Their Effects?
Access Points

Sean D. Ehrlich

Oxford University Press

This chapter presents Access Point Theory in detail, explaining what access points are and why the number of access points matter. An access point is a policymaker who might be valuable to lobby and, thus, must have power in a policy area; be susceptible to lobbying; and either have independence from party leaders or represent a distinct constituency. Increasing the number of these access points increases the amount of competition between policymakers for lobbying dollars, which decreases the price of access and the cost of lobbying. This leads to more lobbying, which should lead to policy that is more complex if interest groups lobby for narrow policy provisions that benefit only them and that is more biased if one side has a lobbying advantage and can better take advantage of the cheaper lobbying. The chapter's appendix explains how different democratic institutions influence the number of access points and discusses the measurement of access points.

Keywords:   access points, lobbying, relevance, independence, distinctiveness, bias, complexity, measurement

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