Mobilizing Friends and Foes in Administrative Proceedings

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A common justification for the use of trial-type procedures in administrative agency decisionmaking is the assertion that such procedures will help legitimize decisions or increase their acceptability. Writers who take this position often assume that members of affected interest groups have fixed attitudes toward decisionmaking procedures, that such attitudes are highly salient, and that perceptions of procedural acceptability will not be greatly influenced by the social setting. This article reports on the results of a survey administered to witnesses in federal agency rulemaking proceedings which indicate that procedural attitudes have low salience, are mobilizable rather than fixed, and are strongly influenced by the activities of intermediary organizations such as trade associations and public interest groups. These findings imply particular strategies for designing and implementing regulatory procedures.

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Law and Policy

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