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Unformatted text preview: Chapter Nine Interest Groups: Organizing for Influence Chapter Outline I. The Interest-Group System A. Economic Groups 1. Types of Economic Groups 2. An Organizational Edge B. Citizens Groups 1. The Free-Rider Problem 2. Types of Citizens Groups C. A Special Category of Interest Group: Governments II. Inside Lobbying: Seeking Influence through Official Contacts A. Acquiring Access to Officials 1. Lobbying Congress 2. Lobbying Executive Agencies 3. Lobbying the Courts B. Webs of Influence: Groups in the Policy Process 1. Iron Triangles 2. Issue Networks III. Outside Lobbying: Seeking Influence through Public Pressure A. Constituency Advocacy: Grassroots Lobbying B. Electoral Action: Votes and PAC Money IV. The Group System: Indispensable but Biased A. The Contribution of Groups to Self-Government: Pluralism B. Flaws in Pluralism: Interest-Group Liberalism and Economic Bias C. A Madisonian Dilemma Chapter Summary A political interest group is a set of individuals organized to promote a shared political concern. Most interest groups owe their existence to factors other than politics. They form for economic reasons, such as the pursuit of profit, and maintain themselves by making profits (in the case of corporations) or by providing their members with private goods, such as jobs and wages. Such interest groups include corporations, trade associations, labor unions, farm organizations, and professional associations. Collectively, economic groups are by far the largest set of organized interests. The group system tends to benefit the economically and socially advantaged. Citizen groups do not have the same organizational advantages. They depend on voluntary contributions from potential members who may lack interest and resources, or who recognize that they will get the collective good from a groups activity even if they do not participate (the free-rider problem). These citizen groups include public interest, single-issue, and ideological groups. Their numbers have increased dramatically since the 1960s despite their organizational problems. Organized interests seek influence largely by lobbying public officials and contributing to election campaigns. Lobbying serves primarily to provide policy makers with information and to SG 9 | 1 alert them to the views of interest group members. Using an inside strategy, lobbyists develop direct contacts with legislators, government bureaucrats, and members of the judiciary in order to persuade them to accept their groups perspective on policy. Groups also use an outside strategy, seeking to mobilize public support for their goals. This strategy relies in part on grassroots lobbyingencouraging group members and the public to communicate their policy views to officials. Outside lobbying also includes efforts to elect officeholders who will support group aims. Through political action committees (PACs), organized groups now provide nearly a third of all contributions received by congressional candidates. a third of all contributions received by congressional candidates....
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