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19 Cards in this Set

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  • Back
Activities through which individuals, interest groups, and other institutions seek to influence public policy by persuading government officials to support their groups’ position.
Lobbying, lobbyists
Organized groups of people seeking to influence public policy.
Interest group
Why should groups lobby?
People who want to influence the government decisions that affect their lives and welfare quickly recognize the advantages of banding together with others of like mind and asking astute and powerful friends to help out.
What were the origins of interest groups in America?
Merchants, manufacturers, and ethnic and religious minorities during the colonial era actively sought favorable policies from the authorities in London as well as from colonial governors and assemblies. By mid-18th century, these groups had developed their persuasion techniques that we still use today.
Interest group activity that includes normal lobbying on Capitol Hill, working closely with members of Congress, and contributing money to incumbents’ campaigns. Contrasts with outsider tactics.
Insider lobbying/tactics
A group that promotes some conception of the public interest rather than the narrowly defined economic or other special interests of its members.
public interest lobbying
A theory describing a political system in which all significant social interests freely compete with one another for influence over the government’s policy decisions.
pluralism: pluralist defense of interest groups
How are interest groups related to collective action problems?
Organizers of interest groups have to overcome a standard collective action problem: most political interest groups pursue collective goods that, by definition, all group members will enjoy whether or not they help to provide them. Rational self-interest leads to universal free riding, dooming the organization and the effort unless some way is found around this difficulty.
Private goods or benefits that induce rational actors to participate in a collective effort to provide a collective good.
selective incentive
What are the different ways in which interest groups can support themselves?
Many of the interest groups were initially financed by patrons—philanthropic foundations, corporations, wealthy individuals, or the government itself—and many depend on continuing subsidies for significant parts of their budgets.

Others are financed primarily by membership dues and small donations.
Why do we have so many interest groups?
The social ferment initiated by the civil rights movement inspired and instructed the stream of organizations that agitated for social change. There is also a growth in the well-educated and affluent middle class that is willing to put time into these groups. Also, technological innovations have made it easier and cheaper than ever before for entrepreneurial leaders to establish and maintain organizations that have a large number of geographically scattered and socially unconnected members. The main reason for the growth in interest groups is the encouragement from the government itself.
How has the interest group system changed over the course of the last several decades? (fragmentation/specialization, etc…)
Old interests have changed since decades ago. New organizations form when new issues pull old ones apart and there are more complex issues as well as fragmented policy processes that force groups to specialize to be effective. Specialization also. An interest group must convince its individual or institutional backers that their continued investment is worthwhile. It must distinguish itself from similar outfits competing for the same constituency by claim to leadership and expertise on a particular subset of issues.
What are some of the things that interest groups do on a regular basis?
The first objective is not political influence but simple survival. Interest group leaders keep their organization in business by cultivating and retaining patrons willing to pay the bills or supply other essential resources. Group leaders spend as much time explaining government to their patrons as they do explaining their patrons’ interests to government officials. They also spend time engineering a consensus among patrons on what the group’s policy goals should be than pursuing the goals themselves. Group officials must also manager their office—hiring and firing, assigning work, keeping staff productive and content.
Interest group activities designed to influence elected officials by threatening to impose political costs on them if they do not respond. Tactics include marches, demonstrations, campaign contributions to opponents, and electoral mobilization.
outsider tactics
The ability of privileged outsiders, such as interest group representatives, to obtain a hearing from elected officials or bureaucrats. Persuasive information does no good if it doesn’t reach decision makers. Politicians grant access to people who can help them achieve their goals.
Why do interest groups use litigation?
They use litigation because if they have a court case on their cause than it automatically gives them more pull.
How do interest groups get involved in election campaigns?
Insiders offer electoral help. Outsiders more commonly threaten electoral harm. Groups monitor and publicize the voting records of elected officials on their key issues. The idea is to identify friends and enemies so that campaign contributors and voters sympathetic to the group know which politicians to reward and which to punish.
A federally registered fund-raising group that pools money from individuals to give to political candidates and parties.
political action committee
How much influence do PACs have?
PACs have a moderate amount of influence on their legislators’ decisions.