amicus curiae by alicejenny

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									 Interest Groups



Chapter 11
    The Role and Reputation of
         Interest Groups
   Defining Interest Groups
    – An organization of people with shared policy
      goals entering the policy process at several
      points to try to achieve those goals. Interest
      groups pursue their goals in many arenas.
    – Political Parties fight election battles, Interest
      Groups don’t - but they may choose sides.
    – Interest Groups are policy specialists, Political
      Parties are policy generalists.
Theories of Interest Group
         Politics

            Pluralist Theory

                Elite Theory

        Hyperpluralist Theory

             Click on name to go to that slide.
     Theories of Interest Group
        Politics - Pluralism
   Definition:
    – Politics is mainly a competition among groups,
      each one pressing for its own preferred policies.
    – Many centers of power and many diverse,
      competing groups.
    – No group wins or loses all the time.
    – Groups provide the key link between the people
      and the government.
    Theories of Interest Group
       Politics - Pluralism
   Continued
    – Groups provide a key link between people and
        government.
    –   Groups compete.
    –   No one group is likely to become too dominant.
    –   Groups usually play by the “rules of the game.”
    –   Groups weak in one resource can use another.
     Theories of Interest Group
         Politics - Elitism
   Definition:
    – Societies are divided along class lines and an
      upper-class elite rules, regardless of the formal
      niceties of governmental organization.
    – Numerous groups mean nothing, power is not
      equally divided among them - some have much
      more.
    – The largest corporations hold the most power.
    Theories of Interest Group
        Politics - Elitism
   Continued
    – Elite power is strengthened by a system of
      interlocking directorates of these corporations
      and other institutions.
    – Corporate elites are willing to lose the minor
      policy battles, but work to win the major policy
      issues in their favor.
    – Lobbying is a problem because it benefits the
      few at the expense of the many.
        Theories of Interest Group[
             Politics - Elitism
   Perceptions of the Dominance of Big Interests (Figure 11.1)
     Theories of Interest Group
      Politics - Hyperpluralism
   Definition:
    – Groups are so strong that government is
      weakened. Extreme, exaggerated form of
      pluralism.
    – Subgovernments consist of a network of groups
      that exercise a great deal of control over
      specific policy areas.
    – Interest groups have become too powerful as
      the government tries to serve every interest.
    Theories of Interest Group
     Politics - Hyperpluralism
   Continued
    – The many subgovernments (iron triangles)
      aggravate the process.
    – When the government tries to please all the
      groups, the policies become confusing and
      contradictory.
    – With more interest groups getting involved,
      these subgovernments may be dissolving.
What Makes an Interest Group
       Successful?
    What Makes an Interest Group
           Successful?
   The Surprising Ineffectiveness of Large
    Groups
    – Potential group: All the people who might be
      interest group members because they share a
      common interest.
    – Actual group: The part of the potential group
      consisting of members who actually join.
    – Collective good: Something of value that
      cannot be withheld from a group member
  What Makes an Interest
   Group Successful?
– Free-Rider problem: Some people don’t join
  interest groups because they benefit from the
  group’s activities without officially joining.
– The bigger the group, the larger the free-rider
  problem. (Olson’s law of large groups)
– Large groups are difficult to keep organized.
  What Makes an Interest
   Group Successful?
– Small groups are better organized and more
  focused on the group’s goals.
– Consumer groups have a difficult time getting
  significant policy gains - the benefits are spread
  over the entire population.
– Groups that can provide selective benefits can
  overcome this problem.
    What Makes an Interest Group
           Successful?
   The Benefits of Membership in the AARP (Figure 11.2)
       What Makes an Interest
        Group Successful?
   Intensity
    – Single-Issue groups: Groups that focus on a
      narrow interest and dislike compromise.
    – Groups may focus on an emotional issue,
      providing them with a psychological advantage.
    – May be more likely to use protests and other
      means of political participation than traditional
      interest groups that use lobbyists.
      What Makes an Interest
       Group Successful?
   Financial Resources
    – Not all groups have equal amounts of money.
    – Monetary donations usually translate into
      access to the politicians - a phone call, a
      meeting, etc.
    – There is a bias towards the wealthier groups.
    – The wealthier groups don’t always win in the
      policy arena.
The Interest Group Explosion




            Figure 11.3
     How Groups Try to Shape
             Policy
   Lobbying
    – “communication by someone other than a
      citizen acting on his own behalf, directed to a
      governmental decisionmaker with the hope of
      influencing his decision.” (Lester Milbrath)
    – Two basic types: Those that are employed by a
      group, and those that are hired temporarily.
How Groups Try to Shape
        Policy
– Lobbyists are a source of information.
– Lobbyists can help politicians plan political
  strategies for legislation.
– Lobbyists can help politicians plan political
  strategies for reelection campaigns.
– Lobbyists can provide ideas and innovations
  that can be turned into policies that the
  politician can take credit for.
     How Groups Try to Shape
             Policy
   Electioneering
    – Direct group involvement in the election
      process.
    – Political Action Committee (PAC): Used by
      interest groups to donate money to candidates.
    – PACs help pay the bill for increasing campaign
      costs.
    – Most PAC money goes to incumbents.
     How Groups Try to Shape
             Policy
   Litigation
    – If an interest group fails in one arena, the courts
      may be able to provide a remedy.
    – Interest groups can file amicus curiae briefs in
      court cases to support their position.
    – Class Action lawsuits permit small groups of
      people to try and correct a situation on behalf of
      a much larger group.
     How Groups Try to Shape
             Policy
   Going Public
    – Groups try and cultivate a good public image.
    – Groups use marketing strategies to influence
      public opinion of the group and its issues.
    – Groups will purchase advertising to motivate
      the public about an issue.
      Types of Interest Groups
   Economic Interests
    – Labor
    – Agriculture
    – Business
 Environmental Interests
 Equality Interests
 Consumer and Public Interest Lobbies
       Understanding Interest
              Groups
   Interest Groups and Democracy
    – James Madison’s solution to the problems
      posed by interest groups was to create a wide-
      open system in which groups compete.
    – Elite theorists point to the proliferation of
      business PACs as evidence of interest group
      corruption.
    – Hyperpluralists maintain that group influence
      has led to policy gridlock.
       Understanding Interest
              Groups
   Interest Groups and the Scope of
    Government
    – Interest groups seek to maintain policies and
      programs that benefit them.
    – Interest groups continue to pressure
      government to do more things.
    – But as the government does more things, does
      that cause the formation of more groups?

								
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