October 3 Lecture Notes
October 3 Lecture Notes 206
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This 2 page Class Notes was uploaded by Kendall Notetaker on Monday October 3, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to 206 at Texas A&M University taught by John Bond in Fall 2016. Since its upload, it has received 16 views. For similar materials see American National Government in Political Science at Texas A&M University.
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Date Created: 10/03/16
October 3, 2016 Notes Topic 5- Interest Groups I. The General Nature of Interest Groups A. Definition: formal organization of people who: i. Share common attitudes (or interest) on some matter ii. Make demands on others in society to promote or protect that matter Not all groups are “interest” groups i. Emphasis on shared attitude or interest Example: Red heads are not interest groups Red Heads who are fed up with the jokes and join together to protest are an interest group but not one political scientist study ii. Engage in collective (political action) B. Interest Group Goals Pursue new benefits to promote group interest Defend existing benefits to protect group interest More effective on #2- conservative force i. Policy change requires success at multiple decision points ii. (You must go through many levels of government) iii. Example: Affordable Care Act (Obama Care) Ever since Teddy Roosevelt presidents have been advocating for healthcare iv. Change can be stopped at any of the decision points II. Interest Group Formation & Membership A. Why are there interest groups? First amendment freedoms of association and speech It is a type of political participation i. Voting is the most widespread political participation (not the only one) Most Americans belong to or are closely associated with some interest group i. Americans do not have high opinions of interest groups ii. Figure 6.1 in textbook (Percentage of Americans affiliated with interest groups) B. Why do people form and join interest groups? Material benefits Truman: “The Process of Government” people obtain benefits i. Tangible benefits ii. Discounts on goods and services Solidary benefits i. Intangible benefits ii. Pleasure of socializing with like-minded people October 3, 2016 Notes Purposive Benefits i. Transcend the individual and the group ii. Aimed at benefiting others Based on theoretical assumption that people engage in collective action because it is rational to do so C. What is rational? Maximize benefits, minimize cost People form and join interest groups if benefits > costs (time, money, effort) D. Public goods and the free rider problem (Mancur Olson 1965) Characteristics of “Public Goods” i. Non-excludability- once provided, cannot be withheld from anyone ii. Each individual’s share is a trivial contribution to the total cost iii. One person’s enjoyment does not prevent others from benefiting Free riders i. Rational and not to join a group to produce public goods You get the benefits regardless Your absence won’t be noticed So, its rational to minimize costs by free riding Applies even if benefits of the public good > cost of participating ii. Why is free riding a problem? Supplying public goods requires collective action If everyone is rational, there won’t be enough participants to produce the public good Overcoming the free rider problem i. Selective benefits Material and solidary benefits Available only to member who pay dues ii. Government coercion Force people to contribute to providing the public good Closed shop- mandatory union membership Mandatory professional membership (AMA, ABA) Student services fee iii. Social ostracism Effective in small groups And Texas A&M The Aggie term for free rider is Two-Percenter