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Chapter 5

CAS PO 331 Chapter Notes - Chapter 5: Morris P. Fiorina, American Medical Association, Theodore J. Lowi

Political Science
Course Code
CAS PO 331
Kate Krimmel

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Small voter turnouts make conclusions about public preferences impossible
Even less people participate in other political activities such as meetings and petitions
Low level of political knowledge among uninvolved people
Low levels of participation and voting
Women's suffrage and civil rights movements
Mobilization: People or groups are motivated to take action in response to an issue or
Individuals define efficiency as in getting the most services while paying the least
taxes possible
We want focused benefits but the costs spread among many
Morris Fiorina: People want the most benefits at the lest cost, and for other people to pay
for the benefits we receive
There is no single public interest
Very difficult to prove that a policy would be in the broadest public interest because
there is little agreement on what public interest is
Theodore Lowi (The End of Liberalism): American gov't became less concerned with vital
national issues because it have become more involved with distribution of benefits to
particular interests
Individual Citizens
Power of individuals is greatly magnified when they form groups
The founding fathers wanted to prevent faction
Effective interest group activity is expensive
Barriers in interest groups are not political, but collective action
Legislators draw of information to make decisions and the group with the most
available knowledge has the advantage
Communication with key decision makers requires substantial resources and effort
Howlett and Ramesh: Some groups are more powerful than others because the most
important resource of interest groups is knowledge
National Rifle Association and American Medical Association
A larger group would have a louder influence on policymaking due to more voices and
In order to create a large group, strong incentives are needed
Peak associations: Largest, most influential groups in politics that represent other groups
and advocate on a large scale
Can involve many different groups creating a coalition
Very high visibility and often creates an active oppression group
Social movement: Group of people that come together to press for political or policy goals
Interest Groups
Institutional interest group: Group of people whose members are part of the same
Membership group: Members make the positive decision to join
Economic/private interest groups: Formed to promote and defend the economic interests of
their members
Nonmembers can be considered free riders who benefit from the work of the group
without contributing resources or effort
Public interest groups: Formed to promote what its members believe is the broader public
In both public interest and economic groups, people join because they gain some benefits
Types of Interest Groups
Birkland Chapter 5: Unofficial Actors and Their Roles in Public Policy
Saturday, March 22, 2014
4:06 PM
PO 331 Page 1
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