US government and civics
Course: US government and civics > Unit 6Lesson 6: Groups influencing policymaking and policy outcomes
Interest groups influencing policymaking: lesson overview
A high-level overview of interest groups and their influence on public policy.
Interest groups facilitate citizen participation in government, organizing individuals to take collective action through voting, fundraising, and disseminating information about their issues to elected officials and the public.
|"free rider" problem||A problem of group behavior that occurs when an individual can receive a public benefit without making a personal contribution of money or effort. For example, a person might listen to public radio but never contribute to the station, assuming that other donors will pay to keep it operating.|
|interest group||A formal or informal association of people seeking to influence governmental policy in favor of their interests; interest groups may represent social causes, economic and corporate interests, or religious and ideological interests.|
|iron triangle||A longstanding, mutually-beneficial relationship between an interest group, congressional committee, and bureaucratic agency devoted to similar issues; for example, the American Association of Retired Persons, the Congressional Subcommittee on Aging, and the Social Security Administration all work closely together on issues related to senior citizens.|
|issue network||A group of individuals, public officials, and interest groups that form around a particular issue, usually a proposed public policy that they wish to support or defeat.|
|lobbying||Seeking to influence a public official on an issue; an interest group with a particular agenda may be known as its "lobby," for example "the tobacco lobby."|
Photograph of a sign in the Maryland State House reading "No lobbyists beyond this point."
Competing policymaking interests: There are many competing interest groups, and they can take a variety of forms, but all seek to influence public policy in favor of the needs of their constituents. Not all interest groups have an equal impact on policy, however, as some have more funds, greater access to decision-makers, and more committed members.
Explain the free rider problem in your own words. Can you think of another example of the free rider problem in society?
Pundits often complain about the influence of “special interest groups” on politics. Name one positive effect of interest group participation in the political process and one problem associated with interest group participation.
Want to join the conversation?
- If the majority vote against a policy but an interest group pays a representative to vote against the people, what happens to that majority vote?(2 votes)
- If the majority does not approve of their record or conduct while in office, they get to vote that representative out of office.(7 votes)
- what are pundits?(1 vote)
- A pundit is an expert in his/her field. The way the article uses it, a pundit is someone who is scholarly in the field of political analysis, and frequently gives his/her opinion about political analysis. The word was taken from Hindi, where it also is used for teachers and scholars.(3 votes)
- Hey guys merry christmas(2 votes)
- happy new year(0 votes)
- why was there a plcae where you cant lobby no more(1 vote)
- How are interest groups able to influence public policies?(0 votes)
- So... You have different strategies for interest groups. But, the main one that affects public policy is direct. This means that mainly, the lobbyist will try to convince a congress member to vote for a certain legislature to insure that it favors in the way of their clients. This can change based on various methods as well. For instance, the lobbyist may offer certain collateral to convince them. This may be by offering campaign assistance, or building alliances with them in order to further their group. For instance, you might find that the Christian Coalition and the National Organization for Women might agree on alcohol consumption prohibition. They might team up in this area (form alliances) and lobby certain congresspeople in order to insure that alcohol is prohibited. So, in summary, lobbyists influence public policies by "convincing" congress officials to vote for the legislation. Also, one thing I forgot to add is that sometimes a lobbyist will do an illegal activity and actually bribe a congress official which sadly, happens often.(3 votes)
- So interest groups spend a lot of money on lobbyists, so who are some well known lobbyists?(1 vote)
- Yes. Lobbyists for corporations or industries might seek to sway officials regarding legislation, regulations, and the enforcement of government decisions. Over the past 22 years, the pharmaceutical and health products industry has spent the most money of all industries in lobbying spending.(1 vote)
- Is it good that interest groups have $0 on outside spending?(0 votes)
- If the majority vote against a policy but an interest group pays a representative to vote against the people, what happens to that majority vote?(0 votes)
- Yep, the United States is not always run by majority rule (and interestingly enough, the Founders tried to create protections against "tyranny of the majority," so in some instances the majority is not supposed to get their way). But in the scenario you described, if enough people were frustrated by that behavior, they could vote the representative out of office.(1 vote)
- The S.N.A.P Program is an example of a free Rider Problem where a person can enjoy the benefits of it but may have never contributed a cent to it or the government. Is it fair that people have to pay into a program (Tax) for some people who no longer try to take care of themselves. But instead have become enabled by it?(0 votes)