EXAM! - Topic 5 Chapter 6 Interest groups I The General Nature of Interest Groups a Definition A formal organization of persons who i Share common

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Topic 5- Chapter 6: Interest groups I. The General Nature of Interest Groups a. Definition: A formal organization of persons who i. Share common attitudes (or interest) on some matter ii. Make demands on others in society to promote or protect that matter iii. Not all groups are “interest” groups--- emphasis on shared attitude or interest iv. Politically oriented organization of people who share common interests and make demands on others in society with respect to those interests. b. Interest Group Goals i. Pursue new benefits to promote group interests ii. Defend existing benefits to protect group interests iii. More effective on #2 --- conservative force II. Interest Group Formation and Membership a. Why are there interest groups? i. First Amendment freedom of association and speech: “ right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the government for a redress of grievances” ii. A type of political participation iii. Most Americans belong to or are closely associated with some interest group b. Why do people form and join interest groups? i. Material benefits: tangible rewards gained through membership. ii. Solitary benefits: satisfaction gained through friendships and fraternity among individuals involved in a joint enterprise. iii. Purposive benefits: benefits from feeling good about contributing to a worthy cause.
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iv. Based on a theoretical assumption that people engage in collective action because it is rational to do so - Rational- a person makes choices that maximize benifites and minimize cost. - Thus, people form and join interest groups when the benefits exceed the costs (time, money, effort) c. Public goods and the Free Rider Problem i. Characteristics of “Public Goods” 1. Non-excludability—once provided, cannot be withheld from anyone(most important) 2. Each individual contribution is a trivial contribution to the total cost 3. One person’s enjoyment of the benefit does not prevent others from benefiting from it ii. Free Riders 1. Rational not to join a group to produce public goods 2. You get the benefits regardless, and your absence won’t be noticed 3. But if everyone is rational, there won’t be enough participants to work to get the public good 4. Applies even if the benefits of the public good are greater than the costs of participating 5. Less of a problem in small groups iii. Overcoming the Free Rider Problem 1. Selective benefits- material benefits that are available only to members. 2. Government coercion - 3. Social ostracism – peer pressure to persuade others to do their part in achieving group goals. Most effective in small groups. d. Other theories i. Pluralist theory- interest groups and natural extensions of a democratic system that guarantees freedom of expression and
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association. Interest groups form in response to governmental action that is unpopular with a particular interest. Formation of groups may precipitate the formation of other groups who represent the opposite of the issue. ii. Exchange theory- formation in result of a deal- an exchange-
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This note was uploaded on 06/28/2008 for the course BIOL 112 taught by Professor Vaughn during the Spring '08 term at Texas A&M.

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EXAM! - Topic 5 Chapter 6 Interest groups I The General Nature of Interest Groups a Definition A formal organization of persons who i Share common

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