RECONSIDERING THE COUNTER-
MOBILIZATION HYPOTHESIS: Health Policy
Lobbying In The American STATES
David Lowery, Virginia Gray, Jennifer Wolak,
Erik Godwin and Whitt Kilburn
Despite its widespread use since the concept was introduced by David Truman (1951.
The Governmental Process. New York: Alfred A. Knopf), counter-mobilization by
organized interests has remained theoretically ambiguous and rarely studied empiri-
cally. We more fully develop the concept of short-term counter-mobilization, distin-
guish it from long-term counter-mobilization, specify the conditions under which we
might observe short-term counter-mobilization, and test the resulting hypotheses with
data on health care lobby registrations in the American states during the late 1990s.
We ﬁnd little evidence of short-term counter-mobilization among health interest
organizations, which leads us to more fully consider several null hypotheses about the
limits of strategic behavior on the part of organized interests.
Key words: interest groups; mobilization; counter-mobilization; lobbying; health
The notion of counter-mobilization among organized interests is central
to our understanding of interest representation. Thus, Jeffrey Berry’s
explained the ‘‘advocacy explosion’’ by observing that:
David Lowery, Department of Public Administration, University of Leiden, Leiden, RB2300,
The Netherlands (firstname.lastname@example.org). Virginia Gray, Department of Political Science,
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA. Jennifer Wolak,
Department fo Political Science, University of Colorado, Boulder, CO 80309, USA. Erik Godwin,
Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC
27599, USA.Whitt Kilburn, Department of Political Science, University of North Carolina at
Chapel Hill, Chapel Hill, NC 27599, USA
An earlier version of this paper was prepared for presentation at the Annual Meeting of the
Midwest Political Science Association, Chicago, April 2004. This research was supported by a
Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Investigator Award in Health Policy Research (ID#047727).
Political Behavior, Vol. 27, No. 2, June 2005 (
0190-9320/05/0600-0099/0 Ó 2005 Springer ScienceþBusiness Media, Inc.