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Chapter 7 - Interest Groups What is an interest group o a...

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Interest Groups What is an interest group? o a private voluntary association that seeks to influence public policy as a way to protect or advance some interest also called special interests, lobby groups, public interest groups, pressure groups Lobby o an interest or pressure group that seeks to convey the group’s interest to government decision makers; also, an action by a group or association to influence the behavior of a public official Theories of Interest Groups Disturbance Theory o a theory that locates the origins of interest groups in changes in the economic, social, or political environment that threaten the well-being of some segment of the population Pluralism o pluralist- a political scientist who views American politics as best understood in terms of the interaction, conflict, and bargaining of groups Elitism Federalist 10 again All this goes back to Madison &his ideas of factions o faction- Madison’s term for groups or parties that try to advance their own interests at the expense of the public good “The latent causes of faction are thus sewn in the nature of man” Interest groups are an expression of faction and we have different ways of looking at their power and their interaction with government What do interest groups do? Allow for collective action Provide information set regulation rights and laws Types of Interest Groups Business Union Labor Union Professional Organizations Professors Association For the good of the group Ideological or Single Issue Groups Just care about one issue and no matter what they will vote for that issue Public Interest Groups League of Women Voters Girl Scouts Focus on the good of their interest group and the way that they believe that the world should be Auto Safety
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Civil rights Interest Groups Vote Catholic Similar to ideological groups NAACP Groups interested in the advancement of minorities Membership Group maintenance o How you get people and how you get them to stay How & Why? o Because groups of people with the same ideas are better heard instead of one man standing only Mancur Olson’s Logic of Collective Action o What type of problems you will deal w/in an interest group Problem of the Free Rider o Members or nonmembers who get free benefits without having to give anything up, this take away the glamour of joining a group o Selective Benefits-when you give people who are in the group certain perks and benefits o This is the ability to benefit for actually joining the group How do you minimize this? Checkbook membership o No meetings o You just send a check to stay a member Are we Bowling Alone?
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