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Interest group

An organization of people with shared policy goals entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve those goals. Interest groups pursue their goals in many arenas


A theory of government and policies emphasizing that many groups, each pressing for its preferred policies, compete and counterbalance one another in the political marketplace


A theory of government and polices contending that n upper class elite will hold most of the power and this in effect run the government


A theory of government and policies contending that groups are so strong that government seeking to please them all is thereby weakened

Iron triangles

A mutually dependent, mutually advantageous relationship between interest groups interested in a particular policy, government agencies that administer that policy, and the congressional committees and subcommittees that handle it.

Actual group

The people in the potential group who actually join

Collective good

Something of value that cannot be withheld from a potential group member

Free-rider problem

For a group, the problem of people not joining because they can benefit from the groups activities without joining

Selective benefits

Goods that a group can restrict to those that actually join

Single-issue groups

Groups that have narrow interest, tend to dislike compromise, and often draw membership from people to new polices


According to Lester Milbrath, a communication by someone other than a citizen acting on his or her own behalf directed to a governmental decision maker with the hope of influencing his or her decision


Direct group involvement in the electoral process


Political finding vehicles created by the 1974 campaign finance reform

Union shop

A provision found in some collective bargaining agreement requiring all employees of a business to join the union within a short period

Right to work laws

A state law forbidding requirements that workers must join a union to hold their jobs

Public interest lobbies

Organizations that seek a collective good the achievement of which will not selectively and materially benefit the members or activists of the organization


Someone who is employed to persuade legislators to vote for legislation that favors the lobbyist employer


An organized association of workers formed to protect the workers rights

Solitary incentive

The social rewards that lead People to join a political organization

Material incentives

Money or things valued in material terms

Purposive incentive

Benefit that comes from serving the cause or principle

Social movement

A widely shared demand for some aspect of change in social order

Labor movement

An organized attempt by workers to improve their status by united action

Service sector

The tertiary sector of the economy is one of the three economic sectors, the others being the secondary sector and the primary sector.

Public interest

The public interest refers to the "common well-being" or "general welfare". The public interest is central to policy debates, politics, democracy and the nature of government

Direct technique

Lobbying and providing election support are two important direct techniques used by interest groups to influence government policy. In other words: any method used to interact with government

Indirect technique

Grassroots lobbying (also indirect lobbying) is lobbying with the intention of reaching the legislature and making a difference in the decision-making process. Grassroots lobbying is an approach that separates itself from direct lobbying through the act of asking the general public to contact legislators and government officials concerning the issue at hand, as opposed to conveying the message to the legislators directly. Companies, associations and citizens are increasingly partaking in grassroots lobbying as an attempt to influence a change in legislation

Climate control

the use of public relations techniques to create favorable public opinion toward an interest group, industry, or corporation

Potential group

A potential group is all of the people who might be interest group members because they share some common interest. A potential group is almost always larger than an actual group.

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