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20 Cards in this Set

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direct lobbying
Efforts to influence the political process through direct interaction with government officials.
free rider
An individual who benefits from a group's activities even though he or she does not belong or contribute to the group.
indirect lobbying
Efforts to influence government through interaction with third parties or the general public.
interest group
An organized group that seeks to influence the political process in order to pursue a specific benefit or objective.
iron triangle
A phrase used to describe the strong interconnections between the interest groups, government agencies, and legislativee committees that work in a common policy area.
lobbying
Efforts by organized groups to influence government policy.
material benefit
An economic gain.
political action committee
An organization formed to raise and distribute campaign funds. Polictical action committees are established by corporations, labor unions, and other interest groups.
public interest
The interest of the public as a whole rather than that of specific groups.
purposive benefit
An advantage based upon ideological or ethical principles.
solidarity benefit
An advantage based upon association with others and a sense of belonging.
List the 3 basic functions of interest groups.
1. The provide citizens with the opportunity to express their preferences on specific issues.
2. They allow voters to express the intensity of their political beliefs.
3. They raise public awareness about issues and help shape the public agenda.
Briefly describe the debate as to whether interest groups enhance American democracy.
According to critics, interest groups do not enhance American democracy because they are dominated by upper-class elites. Critics believe that interest groups thus skew representation in favor of these elites. Proponents believe that such groups provide a mechanism for representing a wide variety of societal interests. They also contend that interest groups help ensure that the needs and wants of minority groups are not overshadowed by those of the majority.
What is the pluralist model of politics and how does it add to our understanding of interest groups?
The pluralist model of politics is based upon the view that competing interest groups represent diverse sectors of society. Pluralism suggests that politics is a competition in which these interest groups negotiate, compromise, and eventually balance the effects of one another. Therefore, under the pluralistic model, interest groups are fundamental actors that ultimately serve the interest of democracy.
Do interest groups contribute to the public interest?
The public interest can be defined as the interest of the public as a whole rather than the narrow interests of specific groups. Because interest groups promote their own specific needs and desires, critics charge that they do not represent the wider public interest. Proponents believe that such groups provide a mechanism for representing a wide variety of societal interests, they argue that interest groups do indeed contribute to the public interest.
what is the iron triangle? How does it affect policymaking?
The iron triangle refers to the strong interconnections between the interest groups, government agencies, and legislative committees that work in a common policy area. Some analysts suggest that the iron triangle eases policymaking by promoting cooperation among key actors. Conversely, critics argue that it leads to wasteful spending by causing the government to adopt programs designed to meet the demands of interest groups rather than those of the general public.
What are free riders? How do they affect the formation of interest groups?
Free riders are individuals who benefit from a group's activities even if they do not belong to the group. In essence, these individuals choose not to form or join groups of their own because they prefer to wait for someone else to organize in hopes that they can get a "free ride." The free rider problem does not often affecct the formation of small groups because individuals with very narrow, specific interests know they cannot rely upon others to organize on their behalf. In contrast, this problem frequently hinders the formation of large groups because individuals with broader interests can almost always find a group that is willing to provide a "free ride." The free rider problem thus helps explain why we have so many narrow interest groups but so few large groups designed to promote the public interest.
List and briefly explain the types of benefits that motivate individuals to join interest groups.
1. Materials benefits, or economic gains.
2. Solidarity benefits, or advantages that come from a sense of belonging.
3. Purposive benefits, or advantages that are associated with the effort to advance ideological or ethical principles.
Describe the difference between direct and indirect lobbying. List examples of both types of lobbying.
Direct lobbying involves efforts to influence the political process through direct interaction with government officials, while indirect lobbying involves efforts to influence the political process through interaction with third parties or the general public. Examples of direct lobbying techniques include developing personal relationships with politicians, providing information to legislators, and testifying before congressional committees or executive agencies. Examples of indirect lobbying include mass mailings, adveritsements, public protests, and efforts to generate letter-writing campaigns.
What are political action committees? What is their purpose?
Political action committees are organizations formed by corporations, labor unions, and other interest groups in order to raise and distribute campaign funds.