Political Science 540, American National Institutions, Spring 2000

Prof. Frank Baumgartner


Questions and discussion topics for week 12, April 5:


Readings: Basic Interests.


Choose one of these topics for a five page paper if you choose to do one this week. In any case, come to class prepared to discuss the following:


1.      In Chapter 2, we review a series of obstacles to cumulative research on the topic of interest groups. Using another literature that you know well, discuss whether the problems are particularly bad in the interest-group literature, or if this is common in other areas as well.

2.      We argue in Chapter 7 that most research on PACs has been inconclusive. Design a project that would actually answer an important question about PACs in a conclusive way.

3.      Review the data we present in Chapter 9 and in the Appendix concerning the scope of projects on groups published in the APSR. Compare this to what you know of other research areas.

4.      In Chapters 7 and 8 we review two types of studies. One has consistent results; the other, inconsistent. Is there a way to improve on this by some kind of combined research approach?

5.      Did the profession do the right thing in turning away from studies of influence and power as it did in the 1960s and 1970s? Describe a conclusive research project that could be done.