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How are all groups not interest groups?

a. emphasis of shared attitude or interest
b. engage in political action

What are the goals of interest groups?

1. pursue benefits to promote the group interest
2. defend existing benefits to protect group interest

Why are interest groups more effective in defending existing benefits?

policy change requires success at multiple decision pts. and this change can be stopped at any of the decision pts.

What are the benefits to form an interest group?

a. material
b. solidary
c. purposive

Why is there is the assumption that people engage in collective action if it rational to do so?

people will form and join interest groups if benefits exceeds the cost

What are the characteristic of a public good?

a. non-excludability
b. each individual share is trivial to to the total cost
c. one persons enjoyment does not prevent other from benefiting

Characterize free-riders?

rational not to join a group to produce public goods because it minimize cost
a. get benefits regardless
b. your absence won't be noticed

Why is free riding a problem?

supplying public goods requires collective action but if everyone was rational there wont be enough participating to produce the public good

How is the free rider problem overcomed?

joining an interest group gives selective benefits to members, government coercion, social ostracism

How can government coerce the population to join groups?

a. force people to contribute to providing a public good
b. closed shop-mandatory union membership
c. mandatory professional membership
d. student services fees

pluralist theory to overcome free rider problem

latent unorganized interests spontaneously organize to take advantage of an opportunity in response to a threat

Exchange theory to overcome free rider problem

-by-product theory---> similar to Mancer Olsen theory but emphasizes leadership ....groups form as a result of a deal an exchange between a group entrepreneur and unorganized individuals with common interest join in exchange for selective benefits

Niche theory

applies biological concepts to interest groups ..population ecology, carry capacity, partitioning of environment into various niches, various species occupy a small niche to minimize competition from similar species


activities that group engage to promote or protect group interest


a coalition of uncommon interests

Targets of Interest group lobbying

a. their own membership
b. other groups
c. political parties
d. public opinion
e. congress
f. president
g. courts

What are the difference between political parties and interest groups?

1. the method of influencing politics
-political parties run candidates under party label... and interest groups influence politics by lobbying and active during elections and between elections

The difference between the scope of issues between political parties and interest groups

political parties have position on a broad range of issues to appeal to voters and interest groups have a narrow range of issues of concern to their members

What types of organizations are political parties and interest groups?

interest groups are private organizations and can set whatever requirements they want and parties are quasi public

How can a party be defined?

party in the electorate
party in government
party organization

party in the electorate

ordinary citizens identify with a party and usually support the party's candidate with their votes and camp contributions

party in government

those who hold elected and appointed govt offices who are considered representatives of the party

party organization

party professionals who hold official positions with party

functions of the political parties

a. facilitate participation in democratic process
b. simplify alternatives
c. stimulate interest in govt and public affairs

responsive party model

highly disciplined parties that resent coherent platforms to electorate and high cohesion -all parties candidates support their party platform Example Great Britain --voters choose the which party;s platform they prefer ...held accountable in the next election

The historical reason for two party system in US

1. Federalist/antifederalists
2. commercial vs agriculture
3. geography
4. ethnicity class
5. federalists v. democrat-republicans
6. republicans v. democrats

electoral rules

Duvergers Law recognizes correlation between electoral rules and # of parties ---> winner takes all rules member district plurality system -electoral college and multi member district and property representation

reasons for two party system

a. historical reasons
b. consensus of fundamental values
c. electoral rules
d. political socialization

What is the problem with the pluralist theory in response to the free rider problem?

cannot explain how latent groups overcome the free rider problem

Niche Theory

explains the explosive growth of interest groups as partitioning of policy niches into segments representing narrower and narrower interest
--applies biological concepts to interest groups

How do interest groups influence governments policies?

a. lobbying ....mostly active during and between elections

Why does the US not fit the responsive party model?

parties are ideologically diverse
low cohesion party nominees are chosen in direct primaries and not by party leaders government structure makes it difficult to enact programs ideal to the party platform because of separation of powers, representatives are chosen by different constituents overlapping terms and divided government

What is the evidence for the party decline thesis?

parties been getting weaker since 50s ...electoral attachment to political parties has weakened....rise of candidate centered voting in congress occurs less

According to scholars who disagree with the party decline thesis , the strength of the party depends on which two factors?

- which element you look at ...and what point in time you look

Is there evidence that party decline to a low point but then reversed?



True or False ---independent leaner vote more partisan than a weak partisan

What weakened party machines?

political reforms ....merit system, direct primary, secrete ballot...

Duverger's Law

recognizes a correlation between electoral rules and number of parties

What are the four elements of public opinion

direction stability salience intensity

What are some forms of political participation?

a. voting
b. campaign activities
c. citizens initiated contacts with government officials
d. local community activities

What are determinants of political participation

psychological engagement
context and broader social network
group characteristics

Identify the sociological model

uses group level characteristic such as religion, SES, locality-rural or urban

Identify the Social-Psychological Model

This model explains vote choice as a function of attitudes
Party ID
Candidate Image
View on Major Issue

Identify the Rational Choice Model

voting is the product of rational cost benefit calculation
as costs of voting increases the likelihood of voting decreases

How can we explain the voters choice

party identification, candidate image, issues

Electing the president and congress consists of what two steps?

nomination and election

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