Recent Developments in Interest Group Activity in the Northeastern States

A Comparative Perspective


  • Clive S. Thomas
  • Ronald J. Hrebenar



This article uses a combination of qualitative and quantitative methods to analyze the contemporary interest group systems of eleven Northeastern states and compares these with the interest group systems in the fifty states as a whole. It is found that recent changes in the socio-economic and political life of the Northeast have affected surface aspects of the region's interest group systems, such as the range of groups represented and the styles of representation, and has extended power to some new interests to an extent greater than in any other region of the nation. However, recent changes have not altered the fundamental dominance of the policy process by traditional economic and institutional interests which enjoy a marked advantage in the possession of the resources necessary for political influence. The findings from the research also call into question existing theories of an inverse relalionship between group power and (1) socio-economic development, (2) government professionalism, and (3) political party power in the Northeast and the states as a whole.