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Interest Groups in Georgia: An Example of Professional Organizations Archil Abashidze Ilia State University.

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Presentation on theme: "Interest Groups in Georgia: An Example of Professional Organizations Archil Abashidze Ilia State University."— Presentation transcript:

1 Interest Groups in Georgia: An Example of Professional Organizations Archil Abashidze Ilia State University

2 Charles E. Lindblom (1968) “in less developed countries, where political participaton is at a low level... because of insufficient experience with mass participation in politics, “the interest articulation” function of interest groups may be more critical than in the more developed countries. For in these societies, alternatives to interest groups as channels through which the citizen’s needs can be called to the attention of proximate policy makers are much less effective than in the developed societies. Journalism, research, and informed public discussion are all thin”.

3 Main Research Questions Has the policy-making process become more participatory since 2004? What is the role of professional associations in this process? Are there success stories hat can be shared?

4 Methodology Legal framework Secondary literature Interviews Case study approach

5 Stephen Jones suggests the following definition: ” an interest group is an association of individuals, organized or not, that tries to influence public policy”

6 Types of Interest Groups Labor Unions Business Organizations Gender, Religious, Ethnic and Age Groups Public Interest Groups Professional Associations and Occupational Groups

7 David Trumann (1951): Interest groups arise in response to feelings of common interest among individuals who are experiencing some form of deprivation or frustration.

8 Mancur Olson (1965): Individuals cannot be expected to organize spontaneously once they become aware of a threat to their common interest. As long as individuals are likely to receive the collective goods that interest groups are working to obtain regardless of whether or not they make a contribution toward the effort, it will be exceedingly difficult to spur many of them into action.

9 Typology of groups Jack L.Walker (1983): 1. Groups that require members to possess certain professional or occupational credential. 2. Groups, that are open to all citizens regardless of their qualifications.

10 Why are professional organizations important? They represent one of the main sources of expert knowledge! They can be much more influential than large groups.

11 The 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

12 The Ineffectiveness of Large Groups 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. Large groups are difficult to keep organized.

13 Stephen Jones (Slavic Review, 2000) five categories of interest groups in Georgia: First, formal interest groups such as industrialists and journalists’ associations; Second, amorphous interest groups such as blue-collar workers, peasants, pensioners, ethnic group;

14 Third, network of groups based on family, friends. Locality, or professional associations; Fourth, indigenous nongovernmental groups, groups that Jones defines as “pressure” groups in the western understanding; Fifth, transnational organizations and international NGOs, not interest groups strictly speaking, but on certain stage performing similar functions.

15 A bad example from the past: the trade unions “Georgian Trade Unions' Confederation (GTUC) embraces 25 organizations (two regional and 23 sectoral organizations). It has 259172 members (45% of all hired workforce of the country), 204532 of which are regularly paying membership fees. Members are paying 1% of their salaries to primary organizations set up in their workplaces, in average 49% ( 0.49% of salary in average) of this amount goes to sectoral/regional organizations, and 5% of the latter ( 0.03% of salary in average) goes to GTUC monthly budget”. A soviet-type organization Low trust in the big part of Georgian society

16 Year 2011 We counted: More than active 30 professional organizations Appr. 50 % founded in the 90es. Almost half of them operate in the healthcare sector. Influence on policy-making still weak.

17 Important questions to answer: What are the resources that played or play the deciding role in success or failure of these groups? Are there any apparent success stories? What is their role or influence on policy-making process in their field?

18 Thank You!

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