310LSpring2008InterestGroupsPowerpointOutline

310LSpring2008InterestGroupsPowerpointOutline - Studying...

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Studying Interest Groups
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Defining “interest group” “Any private voluntary association that seeks to influence public policy as a way to protect or advance some interest.” Greenberg & Page, page 191
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Defining a “public interest group” Textbook: “An interest group that advocates for a cause or an ideology” [page 193]—a bad definition A “public interest group” claims to promote public policies that serve the interests of vast segments of the public Distinguished from a “special interest group” The term “public interest group” is a claim to authority Whether you consider a group a “public interest group” depends on whether you agree with its definition of what’s right —or, with its definition of “the public” and its definition of “the public’s interests”
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The politics of naming interest groups Many groups claim to be “public interest groups” All groups choose names for their impact E.g.: “right-to-life” vs. “freedom of choice” Many groups adopt purposely misleading names Republicans for Clean Air (a front for a Texas energy executive) Focus on the (a Christian fundamentalist organization) vs. American Family Voices The United Senior Association (founded by a former Clinton Administration aide)
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Defining a “vested interest” A vested interest is a group or an interest receiving benefits from the government [in other words, having those benefits “vested” in it]—and most likely wanting to protect/retain or expand those benefits
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Why interest groups proliferate Government-sponsored reforms create new vested interests Groups organize to oppose vested interests Social movements arise and proliferate
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Why IGs Proliferate, contd Groups seek to defend the traditional order against change Intergovernmental lobbying Technological innovation creates new interests
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Why IGs Proliferate, concluded Political parties have lost power, so interest groups fill the vacuum Decentralization of governmental programs encourages new groups at lower levels Globalization of the economy fosters lobbying by other countries
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What IGs want from government Government money Regulation, deregulation, or re- regulation Social, moral, economic, and/or political reforms
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Functions of interest groups “inside game” vs. “outside game” [textbook] Representing citizens to government Educating the government Educating the public Setting the policy agenda Ensuring that policies are carried out
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310LSpring2008InterestGroupsPowerpointOutline - Studying...

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