Lect 09 Studying Influence – paper issues
Tockman office hours, for help with paper. November 11,12, 13, maybe 14. Make progress this
How do we know if some person or group influenced another?
Do participation assignment (paper, names):
1) The person next to you probably is writing on a sheet of paper. Quite
likely, I influenced him or her to do so. But do you really know that,
absolutely for certain? Are there other possible explanations that you could
not completely rule out? How so?
2) What are the grounds for believing that I probably influenced him or her
to write on the paper? Write down one point that tends to convince you.
Collect assignments. Make a list. Are any missing?
Main points from the discussion:
1) You observe a pattern of influence (every time I give the instruction, all
the students begin to write). 2) I have a resource that gives me influence (the fact that I assign grades).
3) I have made an effort to exercise this influence (urging you to answer my
4) I benefit from your writing. It helps my discussion.
Next, what about the influence of public opinion, an interest group, or
the president? Are there analogies?
Note: in studying the influence of various actors or forces (interest groups,
experts, political leaders, public opinion) in the real world, with limited
sources of evidence, you usually will not have all of these types of evidence.
(You could explore all of these issues if you were writing a book!)
Main considerations to look for:
Here are some questions to ask that bear on whether some person, group, or
category of actors influenced policy outcome. Note that you will not have all
of them and maybe not many of them in any given case. But you should
keep alert for evidence on such considerations:
Was the outcome consistent with the interests or expressed preferences of
If so, were these interests or preferences different from those of other
actors? Govt funding for cancer research increases. Is that because of
university and medical school influence?
Is there a pattern of such outcomes? Is the group normally perceived
as having considerable influence? Govt adopts expansion of
What are the resources of this actor for exercising influence: wealth,
numbers of members, capability for political activity, reputation for
expertise, and so on? Did the actor make efforts and engage in activity, such as lobbying or
advocacy, to promote