PS 101-Ch 9
o Interest Groups:An organization of people who share common
political interests and aim to influence public policy by electioneering
o Lobbying: Efforts to influence public policy through contact with
public officials on behalf of an interest group
o Interest group state:Agovernment in which most policy decisions are
determined by the influence of interest groups
o Latent:Agroup of politically like-minded people that is not
represented by any interest group.
o Trade association:An interest group composed of companies in the
same business or industry(the same “trade”) that lobbies for policies
that benefit members of the group
o Economic group:Atype of interest group that seeks public policies
that provide monetary benefits to its members
o Citizen group:Atype of interest group that seeks changed in spending,
regulations, or government programs concerning a wide range of
policies(also known as a public interest group)
o Single-issue group:Atype of interest group that has a narrowly
focused goal, seeking change on a single topic, government program,
or piece of legislation.
o Centralized Group: Interest groups that have a headquarters, usually in
Washington, DC, as well as members and field offices throughout the
country. In general, these groups’lobbying decisions are made at
headquarters by the group leaders.
o Confederations: Interest groups made up of several independent, local
organizations that provide much of their funding and hold most of the
o Revolving door: The movement of individuals from government
positions to jobs with interest groups of lobbying firms, and vice versa.
o Mass associations: Interest groups that have a large number of dues-
paying individuals as members.
o Peak associations: Interest groups whose members are businesses or
other organizations rather than individuals.
o Prisoners’dilemma: Asimple two-person game that illustrates how
actions that are in a player’s individual self-interest may lead to
outcomes that all players consider inferior.
o Free Riding: The practice of relying on others to contribute to a
collective effort while failing to participate on one’s own behalf, yet
still benefiting from the group’s successes.
o CollectiveActions Problem:A situation in which members of a group
would benefit by working together to produce some outcome, but each
individual is better off refusing to cooperate and reaping benefits from
those who do work. o Solidary benefits: Satisfaction derived from the experience of working
with like-minded people, even if the group’s efforts do not achieve the
o Purposive benefits: Satisfaction derived from the experience of
working toward a desired policy goal, even if the goal is not achieved
o Coercion:Amethod of eliminating nonparticipations or free riding by
potential group members by requiring participation, as in many labor
o Selective incentives: Benefits that can motivate participation in a
group effort because they are available only to those who participate,
such as member services offered by interest groups.
o Inside Strategies: The tactics employed within Washington, DC, by
interest groups seeking to achieve their policy goals.
o Outside Strategies: The tactics employed outside Washington, DC by
interest groups seeking to achieve their policy goals.
o Direct Lobbying:Attempts by interest group staff to influence policy
by speaking with elected officials or bureaucrats.
o Grassroots Lobbying:Alobbying strategy that relies on participation
by group members, such as a protest or a letter writing campaign.
o Astroturf Lobbying:Any lobbying method initiated by an interest
group that is designed to look like the spontaneous, independent
participation of many individuals.
o 501( c)(3) organization:Atax code classifications that applies to most
interest groups; this designation makes donations to the group tax-
deductible but limits the group’s political activities.
o PoliticalAction Committee (PAC):An interest group or a division of
an interest group that can raise money to contribute to campaigns or to
spend on ads in support of candidates. The amount a PAC can receive
from each of its donors and the amount it can spend on federal
campaigning are strictly limited.
o 527 Organization:Atax-exempt group formed primarily to influence
elections through voter mobilization efforts and issue ads that do not
directly endorse or oppose a candidate. Unlike PAC, 527s are not
subject to contribution limits and spending caps.
o Taking the late train:An interest group strategy that involves donating
money to the winning candidate after an election in hopes of securing
a meeting with that person when he/she takes office.
o Initiative:Adirect vote by citizens on a policy change proposed by
fellow citizens or organized groups outside government. Getting a
question on the ballot typically requires collecting a set of signatures
from registered voters in support of the proposal. There is no
mechanism for a national level initiative.
o Referendum:Adirect vote by citizens on a policy change proposed by
a legislature or other government body. Referenda are common in sate and local elections, but there is no mechanism for a national level
o Salience: The level of familiarity with an interest group’s goals among
the general population.
II. Lecture(3/25/13) Interest Groups
A. What is an Interest Group?
1. An organization of people who share common political interests and aim
to influence public policy by electioneering and lobbying
2. Some examples?
B. How Do They Differ From…
1. Pressure groups
3. “Special interests” (When people don’t like an interest group)
C. The Interest Group Universe
1. Thousands of registered interest groups
2. A big increase in recent decades
3. Some groups have millions of members
D. Why So Many Groups?(KNOW THIS)
1. Diverse society = many different interests
2. Structure of American constitutional system
a. Federalism + separation of powers gives many different access points
3. Relative weakness of political parties
a. In systems where parties are strong, interests work through the parties
b. In systems where parties are weaker, interest groups operate directly
on the government
E. Interest Groups and Democracy
1. de Tocqueville’s Observation(KNOW)
a. Americans are a “nation of joiners” and this is a reflections of a strong
F. Madison’s Observation(KNOW)
1. People are naturally inclined to associate with one another
2. Factions many be dangerous, but eliminating them would restrict liberty
G. Roles of Interest Groups
a. Groups represent their constituents before government
a. They facilitate people’s participation in politics
a. Of members, the government, and public officials
a. Their advocacy brings new issues to the agenda
5. Program monitoring
a. Keep track of how programs are working and try to persuade
government to take action when issues arise
H. Types of Groups
1. Economic groups a. Corporations, trade associations, labor groups, professional
b. Seek to promote policies that will help their members monetarily
2. Citizen groups (aka public interest groups)
a. Seek changes in spending, regulation, or government programs across
a wide range of policies
3. Single-interest groups
a. Have a narrowly focused goal focusing o