To save content items to your account,
please confirm that you agree to abide by our usage policies.
If this is the first time you use this feature, you will be asked to authorise Cambridge Core to connect with your account.
Find out more about saving content to .
To save content items to your Kindle, first ensure email@example.com
is added to your Approved Personal Document E-mail List under your Personal Document Settings
on the Manage Your Content and Devices page of your Amazon account. Then enter the ‘name’ part
of your Kindle email address below.
Find out more about saving to your Kindle.
Note you can select to save to either the @free.kindle.com or @kindle.com variations.
‘@free.kindle.com’ emails are free but can only be saved to your device when it is connected to wi-fi.
‘@kindle.com’ emails can be delivered even when you are not connected to wi-fi, but note that service fees apply.
This chapter discusses the role of interest groups and lobbying in the EU. It starts by giving an overview of the number and types of interest groups active at the EU level and the different channels through which they try to exert influence. The system of interest representation in the EU is then analysed in terms of corporatism and pluralism, arguing that overall it is best characterized as a form of ’designed pluralism’. The strategies that interest groups use to influence policy-making are discussed in terms of inside and outside lobbying. Because of the way the EU’s political system works, inside lobbying is a much more common strategy at the EU level than outside lobbying. Although it is difficult to make an overall assessment of interest group influence, the impact that specific groups have depends crucially on the resources they command, the way the decision-making process is organized and the type of issue at stake. The chapter ends with a discussion of the relationship between lobbying and democracy, arguing that whether or not lobbying helps or is a threat to democracy depends on the balance between interest groups and the way in which lobbying takes place.
Rounding out Part 1, Kathleen Bawn, Knox Brown, Angela X. Ocampo, Shawn Patterson, Jr., John L. Ray, and John Zaller report results from one of the largest “on the ground” studies of candidate selection ever undertaken. Focusing on fifty-three potentially winnable open seat House races in the 2013–14 election cycle, the authors interviewed local participants and observers to probe the processes behind candidate selection in primary elections. The extensive fieldwork reveals that groups, which may include local party organizations, are the central political actors in the selection process. Voters rely on signals from the groups, whose primary objective is to minimize uncertainty about a candidate’s commitment to particular policy goals. Because this objective may lead groups to promote nominees who are not closest to the primary electorates’ ideological preferences, the candidates who win may be more ideologically extreme than even the primary electorates are. The chapter therefore highlights how analyses that focus on the general election, such as Chapters 2 and 6, are dependent on the candidates that emerge from the primary selection process.
Charles Cameron and Sanford Gordon continue the focus on governance by studying the incentives facing elected officials when voters rely on challengers and interest groups – ---"sentinels” – ---to sound “fire alarms” about incumbent behavior. The authors find that three factors affect the impact of sentinels: the verifiability of fire alarm information, potentially a critical issue in the age of “fake news”; the incentives of sentinels to withhold information, either to make incumbents look bad or to advance favored policies; and the ability of incumbents to counter sentinel bias through credit-claiming. Importantly, the presence of sentinels can lead incumbents to reduce the chance of bad news even at the expense of voter welfare, a perverse effect not fully eliminated by incumbent credit-claiming. The authors illustrate these insights with a case study of changes in the politics of criminal justice. The chapter concludes that fire- alarm oversight of incumbent politicians sometimes helps voters, but its potentially perverse effects render it a distant second -best to a fully informed electorate in ways that imply the media effects studied in Part II strongly affect elected officials.
Interest groups often post about their judicial advocacy on social media. We argue that they do so for two main reasons. First, providing information about the courts on social media builds the group’s credibility as a source of information with policymakers, media and the public. Second, social media provides a way to claim credit for litigation activity and outcomes, which can increase membership and aid in fundraising. Using original datasets of millions of tweets and Facebook posts by interest groups, we provide evidence that interest groups use social media for public education and to credit claim for their litigation activity.
The last two decades have witnessed a substantial change in the media environment, growing polarization of the two dominant parties, and increasing inequality of wealth and income. These profound changes necessitate updating our understanding of political accountability. Accountability Reconsidered examines how political accountability functions in the US today given the dramatic changes in voting behavior, media, congressional dynamics, and relations between branches. With particular attention to policymaking, this volume uses original research to analyze micro-foundations of voter behavior, examining its implications for incentives and offering insight into the accountability relationships among voters, interest groups, legislators, and government bureaucracy. Combining contributions from leading experts who write about the political system synoptically with those who focus on specific elements, Accountability Reconsidered brings together distinct perspectives to focus on the effect of the informational environment on government officials, bridging up-to-date knowledge about accountability mechanisms with our overall understanding of political accountability.
Interest group ideology is theoretically and empirically critical in the study of American politics, yet our measurement of this key concept is lacking both in scope and time. By leveraging network science and ideal point estimation, we provide a novel measure of ideology for amicus curiae briefs and organized interests with accompanying uncertainty estimates. Our Amicus Curiae Network scores cover more than 12,000 unique groups and more than 11,000 briefs across 95 years, providing the largest and longest measure of organized interest ideologies to date. Substantively, the scores reveal that: interests before the Court are ideologically polarized, despite variance in their coalition strategies; interests that donate to campaigns are more conservative and balanced than those that do not; and amicus curiae briefs were more common from liberal organizations until the 1980s, with ideological representation virtually balanced since then.
In the face of the intensifying global climate crisis, the US has failed to implement comprehensive policies to mitigate greenhouse gas emissions. During the 2000s, the shale oil and gas extraction (i.e., “fracking”) revolution highlighted the American energy economy. Is the fracking boom partially to blame for US lagging on climate policy? Political economy theory suggests that economic resources are primary drivers of policy outcomes. In this paper, I originally evaluate that claim in the context of the American states, the governments most powerful to mitigate emissions while the federal government faces gridlock. I first introduce an original measure of one state-level climate policy: adoption of the low-emission vehicle (LEV) policy from 1991 to 2015. I then frame the US fracking boom of the mid-to-late 2000s as a natural experiment, employing a difference-in-difference design to compare the effects of fracking on two climate policies across the American states – LEV and renewable electricity policy. Results yield evidence of a causal impact of the fracking boom on state LEV adoption and more suggestive evidence of an impact on renewable electricity mandates. I conclude by arguing that efforts to evaluate the influence of business on policy should account for “structural power” mechanisms.
This article systematically examines how access of business groups and nongovernmental organizations (NGOs) to the executive branch of the European Union varies across political heads, civil servants, and an understudied yet critical intermediary figure of the executive branch: political advisers. Building upon exchange theory, we argue that the occurrence of a meeting between public officials and interest groups depends on information and legitimacy sought and offered by both types of actors, the public officials’ public exposure, and the interest groups’ lobbying strategies. The empirical analysis is focused on the executive body of the European Union (i.e., the European Commission). Our results show that, while political advisers and civil servants are more likely to meet with business groups than with NGOs, political heads are not biased in favor of any of these two groups.
While conventional accounts of the political landscape highlight Australia’s well-established formal institutions such as the electoral system, parliament, federalism, the public service and judiciary, a holistic approach to the study of Australian politics must also include the political contributions of a wider range of citizens and the various ways in which governments attempt to structure their input.
The chapter begins with a description of the organisational landscape of citizens’ groups in Australian politics and summarises the main advantages and drawbacks arising from the active participation and engagement of citizens’ groups.
The relative merits and drawbacks of government-initiated opportunities for citizens to contribute to political debate and public policy are then discussed with reference to theoretical modelling of community engagement.
The final section of the chapter examines the new challenges arising from the growing citizen participation and demand for community engagement in Australian politics. The discussion of these issues demonstrates how the participation and engagement of citizens’ groups is evolving in 21st century Australia.
In principle, voting is the mechanism by which citizen preferences translate into representatives’ action. If our theoretical expectations hold anywhere, we expect that it would be in a politically consequential setting such as elections. We address this possibility in Chapter 8 by analyzing a wealth of data on candidates and voting in state legislative elections as well as interest groups’ campaign donation and lobbying activity. We find that transparency laws do not improve the electoral chances of challengers. When a state opens its meetings, the pool of candidates does not change and incumbents’ vote share is barely affected. In contrast, the picture does change significantly for interest groups. We find that, in open meetings states, these groups’ donations to incumbents increase by substantial amounts while their contributions to challengers remain basically the same. Additionally, the size of the organized interest community is notably larger when a state holds open meetings. In short, an unintended consequence of transparency is that it facilitates interest groups’ capacity to seek access through elections and lobby state governments to achieve their policy goals.
We use Supreme Court amicus curiae briefs filed by seven religious groups—four liberal and three conservative—to understand the changing nature of political conflict between American religious groups in the predominantly White Protestant tradition from 1969 to 2020. Religious groups on both sides of the ideological divide have increased the frequency of their amicus filings, and increasingly become involved in issue areas which were once primarily the concern of groups on the other side. These findings suggest that the culture war that redefined party politics in America has also shaped religious activism, including legal activism. We argue that these groups have increased their involvement in a wider range of issues for two reasons: their rivalry for influence over the nation's moral center has become more encompassing and overtly political, and their appreciation for and consciously developed ability to tap into the courts' influence on American politics has grown.
Policy networks fulfil an important role within policymaking. Networks of public and private actors provide information to policymakers and may halt or accommodate policy change. Generally, these networks exhibit stability, but at times, they are transformed due to disruptive shocks. This article compares lobbying networks surrounding three EU financial regulatory agencies before and after the global financial crisis. Utilising network-analytical methods, the analysis assesses network change after the financial crisis and the subsequent institutional and regulatory reforms. The findings show that as lobbying networks expand, they become more fragmented. They also demonstrate that shocks stimulate the entrance of new interest groups and make repeat players more selective in their lobbying efforts. This implies that the financial regulation policy network becomes less club-like after the crisis, allowing new groups to inform regulators about their policy preferences.
In this chapter, I trace the evolution of the influential field of interest group theory from the 1920s to the 1950s. Two consequential things happened in this empirically oriented literature. First, the social ontology introduced by pluralists and theorists of process could be taken as given, accepted as factual descriptions of the political process. Second, community was reconceptualized and relegated to the status of a presupposition, now under the name of "consensus," invoked as a restraint on group conflict and a foundation for modern political life without being a topic of debate in its own right. This provided the discipline of political science with the rudiments of what would become an influential and lasting behavioralist solution to the problem of social order.
This chapter considers whether the Internet alters the relationship between protesters’ resources and legislative behavior. Gause argues that digital technologies reduce costs more for online protests than offline protests, making online protests less likely to receive legislative support. Moreover, digital technologies decrease protest costs; however, they do so primarily for high-resource groups. Nevertheless, digital technologies have changed the role of formal interest groups. In the past, formal interest groups provided resources that made it hard for legislators to detect issue salience. Online, viral collective action is more indicative of social media stimuli and influencers than high issue salience. Formal interest groups are now vital to legislative behavior.
To assess these arguments, Gause collects data on protests covered in 2012 in newspapers across the United States. Gause finds that legislators are more likely to support online protests than in-person protests. Whether online or offline, legislators are more likely to support costlier protests. Consequently, protest costs continue to dictate how legislators respond to protest demands.
Scholars posit that groups play an important role in the legislative process and legislator decision making, but find these questions difficult to empirically study due to the private information exchanges. This article exploits a legislative reporting institution to explore group involvement in policy making. In the California state legislature, extra-legislative individuals or organizations that write legislation and secure a legislator to author the bill may be listed as sponsors. Data come from California bill analyses and extend from 1993 to 2014. This group tactic is frequently used: 40% of bills introduced and over 60% of bills that become law list an extra-legislative sponsor. Group sponsorship is significantly related to passage, even after matching on a number of covariates. Legislators use fewer group bills and substitute out of group bills as they gain experience. Group input serves as an integral part of a legislative portfolio and the agenda-setting stage of legislative decision making.
Relatively little is known about how late nineteenth-century associations worked to get their policy goals adopted by state governments. We study this question here, considering the Woman’s Christian Temperance Union (WCTU) and three policies it supported: scientific temperance instruction, increasing the age of consent, and prohibiting tobacco sales to minors. Overall, WCTU-supported legislation was more likely to succeed in states with unified Republican state legislatures, aided by neighboring state adoptions (scientific temperance) and greater WCTU membership (increasing age of consent and prohibiting tobacco sales to minors). These findings are supported by historical evidence, which reveals how WCTU leadership targeted particular states when lobbying for scientific temperance instruction laws and utilized its broad membership base to pressure state legislatures on the other two issues. In total, these results show how one late nineteenth-century membership group was able to facilitate the successful spread of its policies throughout the nation.
Since the 1970s the American political system has undergone a dramatic increase in partisan polarization. By polarization, we mean that the parties are “far apart” from each other. This is largely, but not exclusively, a matter of policy views, although it may include important elements of identity-based tribalism. In a highly polarized environment, parties view one another as competing camps engaged in a battle where the stakes attached to victory or defeat are extremely high.
Over a month after 2020 election night had ended, the results of the presidential contest between former Vice President Joe Biden and Donald J. Trump seemed obvious to all except President Trump and his supporters in the Republican Party. Even as Biden’s victory over Trump became clear in the days following the election, a campaign unfolded to overturn the vote totals and deny Biden his victory. The most worrisome elements have involved armed supporters of President Trump threatening election officials with violence or death. No less extreme has been unprecedented litigation supported by seventeen Republican state attorneys general and more than half of House Republicans asking the US Supreme Court to reverse the election. The case is sure to lose. But in the process, broad swaths of the Republican Party leadership have indicated they are willing to use every institutional lever at their disposal to overturn public opinion as expressed in the voting booth.
Most democracies are representative. Elected by the people, representatives constitute a legislature and create laws. This is typically done through voting. This raises an interesting question of institutional design: should our representatives vote transparently or by secret ballot? No contemporary philosopher, to my knowledge, has addressed this question. In this chapter I argue that if we take seriously the value of political equality—a normative ideal that nearly all democratic theorists embrace—then voting among representatives in a legislature ought to occur by secret ballot. Representatives should vote just as citizens do in elections. Democratic equality, I argue, thrives in darkness.
We use the case of education interest groups to examine how and when policy changes lead interest groups to polarize in their support for political parties. Using over 145,000 campaign contributions from all 50 states from 2000 to 2017, we test whether the passage of private school choice, charter laws, and labor retrenchment policies led to the polarization of education interest groups over time. In 2000, teachers unions were the dominant group and mostly aligned with Democrats. Meanwhile, Republicans lacked support from any education groups. This pattern was consistent across states. Over time, coalitions in some states became polarized, meaning unions grew even more aligned with Democrats and reform groups with Republicans, while other states did not experience such polarization. We show that private school choice programs, but not labor retrenchment or charter laws, contributed to this changing partisan alignment. Our findings demonstrate that policy feedback can shape both the electoral mobilization and party alignments of interest groups.