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Special Interests….. Definition of Interest Group an organized body of individuals who share some goals and who try to influence public policy an organized.

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Presentation on theme: "Special Interests….. Definition of Interest Group an organized body of individuals who share some goals and who try to influence public policy an organized."— Presentation transcript:

1 Special Interests….

2 Definition of Interest Group an organized body of individuals who share some goals and who try to influence public policy an organized body of individuals who share some goals and who try to influence public policy – Parties largely try to determine who occupies positions in government – interest groups primarily try to affect the decisions that others make

3 Normative ?s about IG Is this growth of interest groups a good thing? Is this growth of interest groups a good thing? What is the appropriate role of interest groups in a democracy? What is the appropriate role of interest groups in a democracy? Madison Madison –Causes of Factions Are Sown Into the Nature of Man –Remedy is Worse Than the Disease

4 Pluralism Empirical Description of Politics Empirical Description of Politics –Politics is a struggle between groups –For every interest, there is a group –Policy reflects the balance of power between groups in society Normative Description of Politics Normative Description of Politics –Reflects the intensity of preferences as well as the direction –No permanent losers

5 Theory of Pluralism 1. Groups are basis of politics 2. self-interest will lead organizations to form groups for policies 3. “hidden hand” of self-interest will lead to good overall effects. 4. If one group is too powerful, counter-groups will form. 5. No permanent losers 6. Groups reflect intensity ofpreferences

6 Critiques of Pluralism "The heavenly chorus of the interest group process sings with an upper-class accent." "The heavenly chorus of the interest group process sings with an upper-class accent." Collective Action problem Collective Action problem Overcoming the free rider problem Overcoming the free rider problem –Solidarity benefits –Material benefits –Purposive benefits

7 Why is Sugar Powerful?

8 Big Sugar Who can overcome collective action problem? Who can overcome collective action problem? Winners & Losers Winners & Losers

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11 The Climate Change Lobby Explosion WILL THOUSANDS OF LOBBYISTS IMPERIL ACTION ON GLOBAL WARMING? By Marianne Lavelle | February 24, 2009

12 Goals of Interest Groups Improve Probability that Their Interests Will Be Treated Favorably Improve Probability that Their Interests Will Be Treated Favorably Influence Policy-Making Process Influence Policy-Making Process Preserve Organization Preserve Organization

13 Inside Game Focus is on Governing Officials Focus is on Governing Officials –Lobbying –Litigation –Electoral Politics –Political Action Committees (PAC’s)

14 "The Outside Game" Focus is on shaping public opinion Focus is on shaping public opinion –Indirect influence –Publicity and Mass Appeal –Mass Mailing –Organize the District

15 Why Groups Use Different Tactics group characteristics group characteristics –Exxon vs. Greenpeace situational characteristics situational characteristics –Outs vs. the Ins Convergence between outside and inside strategies Convergence between outside and inside strategies General Electric General Electric

16 Interest Group Influence empirical component empirical component –how powerful are they? normative component normative component –how powerful should they be?

17 Iron Triangles Alliance of common interest between an interest group, a congressional committee, and a bureaucratic agency Alliance of common interest between an interest group, a congressional committee, and a bureaucratic agency Department of Defense/Pentagon- House and Senate Armed Services Committee— and Defense Contractors Department of Defense/Pentagon- House and Senate Armed Services Committee— and Defense Contractors interest groups play the dominant role interest groups play the dominant role Outsiders are shut out Outsiders are shut out

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19 Issue Networks larger and looser connection of interest groups, committees, and agencies in a particular policy area larger and looser connection of interest groups, committees, and agencies in a particular policy area Case of Tobacco Policy Case of Tobacco Policy –More open and less stable than old triangles –More closely resembles that of pluralist doctrine

20 Hyperpolitics- Cigler & Loomis Politicization of all communications Politicization of all communications Permanent campaign Permanent campaign Microsoft- Interest group $ “shaping perceptions of problems and political agenda” Microsoft- Interest group $ “shaping perceptions of problems and political agenda”

21 Hyperpolitics- Cigler & Loomis Affordable Energy Is Important to Me Affordable Energy Is Important to Me –http://www.americaspower.org/News/Ad- Archive Archivehttp://www.americaspower.org/News/Ad- Archive Tea Party Patriots Tea Party Patriots –http://teapartypatriots.org/ Getting Health Reform Right Getting Health Reform Right –http://www.gethealthreformright.org This is Reality This is Reality 4&feature=related 4&feature=related 4&feature=related 4&feature=related

22 Criteria for power Access Access Information Information Numerical strength Numerical strength Group unity Group unity Money Money Narrow goals Narrow goals Defense Defense Nature of issue Nature of issue

23 Influence of IG is conditional most influential most influential –on low profile issues –In blocking actions; hard to originate –When unopposed by other groups –If they have plentiful resources


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