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Washington, DC, Representatives: Private Interests in National Policymaking, 1982-1983 (ICPSR 6040)

Principal Investigator(s): Heinz, John P.; Laumann, Edward O.; Nelson, Robert L.; Salisbury, Robert H.


This study was undertaken to research systematically the process through which private and governmental actors in United States federal policy systems make decisions. A primary focus was the ways in which individual private representatives of interest groups in Washington, DC, interact with the agencies of the federal government. The data are drawn from interviews conducted in 1983-1984 with samples of two distinct populations: Washington representatives, and American Bar Foundation client organizations that employ Washington representatives. The scope of the inquiry was narrowed to four particular policy domains: agriculture, energy, health, and labor. Each domain was operationally defined by a list of specific policy concerns. Questions were structured around specific policy proposals acted upon by Congress in 1979-1982: 22 in agriculture, 13 in energy, 22 in health, and 22 in labor. Respondents were asked to rate the importance of various information sources, and to give their positions on general social and political issues. Background data collected on respondents included participation in electoral politics, political party membership, religious preference, nationality, age, tenure in Washington, race, sex, and parents' occupation and political party affiliations.

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DS1:  Main Data File - Download All Files (24.36 MB)
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DS2:  Government Officials' Supplementary Data; - Download All Files (5.816 MB)
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ASCII + SAS Setup    SPSS Setup    Stata Setup   

Study Description


Heinz, John P., Edward O. Laumann, Robert L. Nelson, and Robert H. Salisbury. Washington, DC, Representatives: Private Interests in National Policymaking, 1982-1983. ICPSR06040-v2. Ann Arbor, MI: Inter-university Consortium for Political and Social Research [distributor], 2009-04-07. https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06040.v2

Persistent URL: https://doi.org/10.3886/ICPSR06040.v2

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This study was funded by:

  • American Bar Foundation (5803-6932)
  • National Science Foundation (SES-8320275)

Scope of Study

Subject Terms:    agriculture, decision making, energy, federal government, government agencies, health care, labor (work), political issues, private sector, public policy, social issues, special interest groups

Geographic Coverage:    District of Columbia, United States

Time Period:   

  • 1982--1983

Date of Collection:   

  • 1983--1984

Universe:    Organizations mentioned in four sources as actively involved in deciding federal policy on agriculture, energy, health, and labor. The sources were: newspapers and magazines published from January 1977 to June 1982, hearings held by committees and subcommittees during the first session of the 95th through 97th Congresses, government officials in Congress and executive agencies, and the 1981 edition of the annual report "Washington Representatives".

Data Type(s):    survey data

Data Collection Notes:

No data were provided for variables I015, I016, and I111.


Sample:    The investigators followed a sequential sampling design that identified approximately 400 organizations and 1,600 of their representatives. The representatives interviewed do not constitute a simple random sample, but were oversampled for more active organizations and representatives. Selection methods may have resulted in a slight bias in the composition of the sample, underenumerating internal representatives (organizational employees).

Mode of Data Collection:    face-to-face interview, telephone interview

Extent of Processing:   ICPSR data undergo a confidentiality review and are altered when necessary to limit the risk of disclosure. ICPSR also routinely creates ready-to-go data files along with setups in the major statistical software formats as well as standard codebooks to accompany the data. In addition to these procedures, ICPSR performed the following processing steps for this data collection:

  • Created variable labels and/or value labels.
  • Checked for undocumented or out-of-range codes.

Restrictions: Certain variables were blanked by ICPSR for reasons of confidentiality. Users wanting access to the blanked variables should contact John Heinz.


Original ICPSR Release:   1995-10-12

Version History:

  • 2009-04-07 After a review, valid data was added for the following variables: EIDAG, EIDEN, EIDHE, and EIDLA. The SPSS and SAS setup files were updated to reflect current ICPSR standards. Stata setup files as well as ready-to-go files were added to the collection for SPSS, SAS, and Stata. An additional dataset with data about government officials was added to the collection.

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