Presentation on theme: "The Rise and Role of Interest Groups"— Presentation transcript:
1 The Rise and Role of Interest Groups Linkage Institutions #5
2 The Primary Goal of Interest Groups An interest group is an organization of people sharing a common interest or goal that seeks to influence public policyOrganization: Interest Groups are organized. There is a structure with a heirarchy.Common Interest: Interest Groups can have one narrow interest (NRA) or a broader range (Sierra Club).Influence Public Policy: Interest Groups attempt to get the government to pass (or not pass) laws that impact their interests.
3 Factors That Promote Interest Groups Size and Diversity of the CountryDecentralized PowerNumber of Nonprofit OrganizationsIncreasing Weakness of PartiesVariety of Ethnic GroupsDiversity of Religious GroupsSeparation of PowersFederalism
4 Birth and Proliferation of Interest Groups 1770s: Independence Groups1830s: Religious/Anti-Slave1860s: Trade Unions, Grange Movement1880s: Business Associations1960s: Environmental, Consumer, Political Reform1973s: Birth of PACs. By 1990s Six times as many PACs as in the 1970s
5 Why such growth?Broad Economic Developments Create New Interests and Redefine Old InterestsFarmers became politically activeMass-Production Industries lead to unionsGovernment PolicyWars create Veterans who demand benefitsStrong Leaders in Social MovementsReligious Revival (1830s) Civil Rights (1960s)Expanding Role of GovernmentPublic Interest Lobbies as government involves itself in more areas.
6 Types of Interest Groups Institutional InterestsMembership InterestsIndividuals or Organizations representing other organizationsBusiness Firms: General MotorsTrade or Governmental AssociationsFocus on issues of central concern to clientsGroups supported by the individual membersAmericans are just as likely as the British to join social, business, professional, veterans, or charitable groups.Less likely to join unionsMore likely to join religious, political, or civic groups due to greater sense of political efficacy
7 Why Join Interest Groups (Incentives) All interest groups deal with the Free Rider problem.Free riders are persons in the general public who benefit from the efforts without joining the organization (no financial or membership effort)ReasonsSolidary IncentivesMaterial IncentivesPurposive Incentives
8 Solidary IncentivesPeople join for the companionship, pleasure, or status benefits given by the groupOccurs when the national organization structure themselves as a coalition of the small local unitsFacilitated by importance of local government
9 Material IncentivesPeople join to gain money, things, and services that are a benefit to its membersTo increase benefits these groups try to influence how laws are administered
10 Purposive IncentivesPeople join based on the goals of the organizationBenefits usually enjoyed by non-members but people still join due toPassion about goals of the organizationStrong sense of civic dutyCost to join is minimal
11 Impact of StaffThe staff influences the group’s policy agenda if the solidary or material benefits are more important to the members than the purposive goals. Staff opinions may be quite different from members’ opinions (Teacher’s Unions?)
12 Social Movements/Interest Groups Social Movement: A widely shared demand for change in the social or political order. Can be liberal or conservative.Tea Party: Began as a focus on restraining government growth
13 The Environmental Movement A social movement can increase the value some people attach to purposive incentivesThe Environmental Movement highlights general lessons about social movemementsMovement can spawn numerous organizationsMore extreme organizations will be smaller and more activistMore moderate organizations will be larger and less activistOvertime the movement has been fragmented with differing approaches splitting the focus of the movement.
14 The Feminist Movement Highlights various types of Interest Groups Solidary (LWV, Business and Professional Women’s Federation)Middle-class educated womenAvoid issues that divide membership or limit access (partisanship, abortion)Purposive (NOW, NARAL)Highly activist organization that takes strong positions on divisive issuesInternal controversy is commonLocal organizations independent from national groupMaterial (Women’s Equality Action League)Addresses specific issues of material benefit (Equal Pay)
15 Funding for Interest Groups Foundation GrantsGovernment GrantsDirect-mail solicitation of membersOn-line appeals and donations
16 Parties and Interest Groups Both are linkage institutions (links average citizen with government activities)But differ in fundamental goalsParties: Elect members to governmentInterest Groups: Influence policy of governmentInterest Groups can often work as a support system to help parties achieve their goals
17 Parties and Interest Groups Interest Groups can support parties through…Monetary ContributionsMobilization of VotersMedia CampaignsProviding InformationIndependent ExpendituresEndorsement of Candidates