Robin L Phinney
Robin Phinney received her PhD from the University of Michigan’s joint program in Political Science and Public Policy in 2010. Her research focuses on organized interests, social welfare policy, research methods, and the policymaking process. Several articles and working papers examine the role of interest groups in the policy process, the predictors of state policy choices, and the analysis of social welfare problems and policies. She recently completed a book manuscript on interest group collaboration during the welfare reform debates of the mid-1990s. This project argues that interest groups increasingly gain influence over legislators’ policy choices by building coalitions with diverse partners. When interest groups collaborate, the diversity of their partnerships allows them to pool the resources necessary for reaching multiple legislators, while increasing the scope and the credibility of the information they provide. An analysis of the behavior of organized interests in the two years preceding the passage of the Personal Responsibility and Work Opportunity Reconciliation Act of 1996 (PWRORA), or welfare reform, reveals that interest groups on all sides of the policy debate engaged in diverse collaboration, both as a tool for pooling resources and as a strategy for signaling political support. In addition to providing support for the theory’s central propositions, the analysis helps to refine a set of hypotheses for future research on coalitional influence across policy domains. The book manuscript is currently under review.