Political Science Chapter 13 Notes
Political Science Chapter 13 Notes POLI 201 001
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POLI 201 001
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This 10 page Class Notes was uploaded by Sierra Crumbaugh on Thursday April 28, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to POLI 201 001 at University of South Carolina taught by Darmofal in Spring 2016. Since its upload, it has received 15 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at University of South Carolina.
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Date Created: 04/28/16
Chapter 13 Thursday, April 14, 210:41 AM The Pull and Push of Groups and Interests Thursday, April 14, 2016 • There is a pull and a push organizing political activity in the United States ○ There is a pull from government to collect information on how governmental decisions will affect various constituencies ○ There is a push from individuals and groups seeking to gain some benefit • This is pluralism at work Groups and Pluralism Thursday, April 14, 2016 • An interest group is an organized group of individuals or organizations that makes policy-‐related appeals to government ○ Interest groups enhance democracy by representing individuals, encouraging political participation, and educating the public ○ But interest groups represent the private interests of a few, not the public interest • Madison's answer to this was diversity • Pluralism is the theory that all interests are and should be free to compete for influence in the the private interests of a few, not the public interest • Madison's answer to this was diversity • Pluralism is the theory that all interests are and should be free to compete for influence in the government ○ As long as all groups are free to organize, the system is arguably democratic, as individuals will join groups they support and will not join groups they oppose ○ Bigger groups will have power, as they should • But some groups organize more easily Organized Interests Are Predominantly Economic Thursday, April 14, 2016 10:49 AM • Economic interest is one of the main purposes for which individuals form groups • Examples of groups that protect economic interests: ○ American Farm Bureau Federation ○ AFL-‐CIO ○ American Medical Association What Do Groups Need? Money, Leadership, Members Thursday, April 14, 2016 • Groups need money to sustain the organization and to fund their activities (lobbying, voter education, etc.) • Groups with access and organizational discipline are more successful Thursday, April 14, 2016 • Groups need money to sustain the organization and to fund their activities (lobbying, voter education, etc.) • Groups with access and organizational discipline are more successful • Groups with more members are more powerful. AARP is powerful because it represents so many active voters Group Membership Has an Upper-‐Class Bias Thursday, April 14, 2016 • People with higher incomes and higher levels of education are more likely to be members of interest groups • There is thus an rclass bias in the interest-‐group system • The bottom rungs of the socioeconomic ladder are represented by some groups, but political parties do a better job of representing these interests Group Activity Reflects the Political Environment Thursday, April 14, 2016 • Periods of significant change or social and economic upheaval usually signal a burst of group activity ○ Group activity grew during the 1880s and 1890s as government became more active in seeking to regulate interstate commerce ○ The federal government's growth in the 1930s led to another burst of group activity • There are thousands of groups at the national, state, and local level The federal government's growth in ○ the 1930s led to another burst of group activity • There are thousands of groups at the national, state, and local level Interest Groups Facilitate Cooperation Thursday, April 14, 2016 • Collections of individuals might have common goals and might benefit from cooperation, but cooperation is not easy • Individuals may not see their common goals or may lack individual incentives to work together Problems of Organization: The Prisoner's Dilemma Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:06 AM • You and a friend have committed a crime • The police have arrested both of you and have placed you in separate rooms • The police think they have enough evidence to convict you both of a lesser crime • But they want you to snitch on your friend • Of course, they have offered your friend the same deal The Logic of Collective Action The Logic of Collective Action Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:11 AM • In The Logic of Collectiv, Mancur Olsen argues that individuals organizing into groups face the prisoner's dilemma They are tempted to let others pay ○ the costs ○ No individual is incentivized to work for the collective good ○ This difficulty is most severe in large groups • Thus, groups of individuals who share an interest often do not organize to pursue it Collective Action: Selective Benefits as a Solution Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:14 AM • Selective benefits are those provided only to group members to entice members to join and contribute. • Benefits can be: ○ Informational ○ Material Solidary ○ ○ Purposive • This is an example of the Institution Principle in action Types of Selective Benefits Types of Selective Benefits Tuesday, April 19, 2016 • Informational: newsletters, periodicals, training programs, conferences, and other information • Material: goods and services • Solidarity: friendship, networking • Purposive: accomplishments Political Entrepreneurs and Groups Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:21 AM • Selective benefits will not organize a group if there is no leadership to do the work • We call these leaders "political entrepreneurs" and they accrue benefits in return for doing the work of organizing • These entrepreneurs are a complement to selective benefits in overcoming collective action problems How do Interest Groups Influence Policy? Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:23 AM • Insider strategies ○ Directly influencing decision makers ○ Pursuing advocacy through the courts • Outsider strategies ○ Educating the public ○ Campaigning and contributing to candidates • Many groups employ a mix of insider and outsider ○ Directly influencing decision makers ○ Pursuing advocacy through the courts • Outsider strategies ○ Educating the public ○ Campaigning and contributing to candidates • Many groups employ a mix of insider and outsider strategies Interest Group Influence: Direct Lobbying Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:26 AM • Lobbying is an attempt by a group to influence the policy process through persuasion of government officials • Billions of dollars are spent on lobbying each year • Lobbying is thought of negatively, but lobbyists do some good: ○ Provide information ○ Make sure group concerns are heard Interest Group Influence: Direct Lobbying Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:30 AM • Lobbyists also seek to influence other parts of government by ○ Lobbying the president ○ Lobbying the executive branch • There are some regulations on lobbying: ○ Groups must report spending on lobbying ○ There are strict limits on gifts from lobbyists ○ Lobbyists must register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House There are strict limits on gifts from ○ lobbyists ○ Lobbyists must register with the Secretary of the Senate and the Clerk of the House Interest Group Influence: Using the Courts Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:34 AM • Interest groups seek to influence policy through the courts by ○ Bringing suits directly on behalf of their group ○ Financing suits brought by others ○ Filing amicus curiae briefs • Brown v. Board of Education( 1954) is an example of a case brought by groups (notably the NAACP) to advance a policy agenda Interest Group Influence: Mobilizing Public Opinion Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:37 AM • Interest groups try to pressure politicians by mobilizing public opinion • One way to do this is to "go public" -‐ the act of launching a media campaign to build popular support • This includes advertising campaigns, protests, grassroots lobbying efforts, and building lists of supporters and urging them to pressure officials Interest Group Influence: to pressure officials Interest Group Influence: Using Electoral Politics Tuesday, April 19, 2016 • Political Action Committees ○ PACs are private groups that raise and distribute funds for use in election campaigns ○ PACs give to candidates and to parties ○ In 2012, PACs contributes over $1 billion • Independent Expenditures ○ Groups spend money on voter education ○ As long as it is not coordinated with a campaign, spending in this category may be unlimited Interest Group Influence: Activism and the Initiative Tuesday, April 19, 2016 10:43 AM • Campaign Activism ○ Groups participate in electoral politics other than by making contributions to candidates ○ Groups engage in GOTV efforts, particularly unions working on behalf of Democrats • The Initiative ○ Groups sponsor ballot initiatives ○ Initiatives are sometimes used to overcome legislative opposition ○ Initiatives are sometimes used to overcome legislative opposition Are Interest Groups Effective? Tuesday, April 19, 2016 • The evidence is surprisingly mixed ○ Some research has found that advocacy rarely yields returns Other research has found that the ○ small amount of money corporations spend on advocacy is a sign that it is not worth much to them • However, if advocacy did not work, groups would not spend money on it at all
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