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Understanding Interest System Diversity: Health Interest Communities in the American States


  • Lowery David

    (University of Leiden)

  • Gray Virginia

    (University of North Carolina)


Recent work suggests that the most fruitful approach to accounting for variations in interest system diversity of any type lies in understanding variations in interest system density (Lowery, Gray and Fellowes 2005). We build on this insight by examining the sources of variation in the substantive diversity of health interests in the American states, focusing on how the densities of several sub-guilds of health interest organizations vary in their responses to changes in the sizes of the constituencies that give rise to them and variations in the policy and political energy supporting their mobilization. We discuss the concept of interest system diversity in the first section of the paper, highlighting its multiple meanings and the limits of prior research. This is followed by a close empirical examination of 14 sub-guilds of state health interest organizations. We conclude by discussing the inherent difficulties of understanding interest system diversity.

Suggested Citation

  • Lowery David & Gray Virginia, 2007. "Understanding Interest System Diversity: Health Interest Communities in the American States," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(2), pages 1-40, September.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:9:y:2007:i:2:n:2

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