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Government in america

Interest groups

An organization of people with shared policy goals entering the policy process at several points to try to achieve these goals


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


A theory of government and politics contending that an upper-class elite will hold most of the power and thus in effect run the government


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

Iron triangles

Subgovernments are composed of interest group leaders interested in a particular policy, the government agency in charge of administering that policy, and the members of congressional committees and subcommittees handling that policy

Potential group

All the people who might be interest group members because they share some common interest

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 not joining because they can benefit from the groups activities without joining

Selective benefits

Goods that a group can restrict to those who actually join

Single issue groups

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


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 by helping fund campaigns, getting members to to work for candidates and forming PACs

Political action committees

Political funding vehicles by the 1974 campaign reforms.

Union shop

A provision found in some collective bargaining agreements requiring all employees of a business to join the union with a short period (30 days) and to remain members as a condition of employment

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 membership of activists of the organization."

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