Studying legislative hearings is an important and systematic way of observing group participation in the policy process. In his extensive analysis of citizen interests in Congress, Jeffrey Berry notes that
there is reason to believe that hearings capture much of the over-
all roster of lobbying participants. Testifying at hearings helps to
legitimize a group’s participation in the policymaking steps that
follow…. Scholzman and Tierney’s survey of Washington lobbyists
showed that 99 percent of their respondents indicated that their
organization testified before the Congress.1
The data used in this chapter draw on a dataset that was originally collected by Frank R. Baumgartner and Bryan D. Jones, with the support of National Science Foundation grant number SBR 9320922, and distributed through the Center for American Politics and Public Policy at the University of Washington and the Department of Political Science at Pennsylvania State University. Neither the National Science Foundation nor the original collectors of the data bear any responsibility for the analysis reported here.
I initially extracted all hearings in the category Law, Crime, and Family. For a full description of each subcategory of the hearings, see www.policyagendas. org. The total number of hearings in this category from 1947 to 2002 is 3,586. However, I excluded several types of hearings from the dataset (subtopic codes are listed hereafter): all hearings about children and family (subtopics 1207 and 1208) were excluded unless they had a specific relationship to crime and criminal justice. Thus, hearings about custody disputes and family dysfunction were excluded, whereas hearings about child sexual abuse, parental kidnappings, or child witness testimony at trials were included. I also excluded hearings on child abuse unless they were explicitly about the criminal justice system or criminal
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Publication information: Book title: The Perils of Federalism: Race, Poverty, and the Politics of Crime Control. Contributors: Lisa L. Miller - Author. Publisher: Oxford University Press. Place of publication: New York. Publication year: 2008. Page number: 189.
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