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Lobbying for the People: The Political Behavior of Public Interest Groups

Lobbying for the People: The Political Behavior of Public Interest Groups

Jeffrey M. Berry
Copyright Date: 1977
Pages: 344
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  • Book Info
    Lobbying for the People: The Political Behavior of Public Interest Groups
    Book Description:

    In recent years there has been growing recognition of the role played in American politics by groups such as Common Cause, the Sierra Club, and Zero Population Growth. This book considers their work in terms of their origins and development, resources, patterns of recruitment, decision-making processes, and lobbying tactics.

    How do public interest groups select the issues on which they work? How do they allocate their resources? How do they choose strategies for influencing the federal government? Professor Berry examines these questions, focusing in particular on the process by which organizations make critical decisions. His findings are based on a survey of eighty-three national organizations with offices in Washington, D.C. He analyzes in detail the operation of two groups in which he worked as a participant.

    Originally published in 1977.

    ThePrinceton Legacy Libraryuses the latest print-on-demand technology to again make available previously out-of-print books from the distinguished backlist of Princeton University Press. These paperback editions preserve the original texts of these important books while presenting them in durable paperback editions. The goal of the Princeton Legacy Library is to vastly increase access to the rich scholarly heritage found in the thousands of books published by Princeton University Press since its founding in 1905.

    eISBN: 978-1-4008-6730-1
    Subjects: Political Science

Table of Contents

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  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-vi)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. vii-viii)
    (pp. ix-x)
    (pp. xi-2)
  5. CHAPTER I Introduction
    (pp. 3-17)

    During the past decade, advocacy organizations commonly known as “public interest groups” have become increasingly prominent in American society and politics. These groups are not a new form of political organization; they have existed far back into our history. There does, however, seem to be a new awareness of the activities of public interest groups. Through the lobbying efforts and accompanying publicity generated by Ralph Nader and organizations such as Common Cause and the Sierra Club, a greater recognition of the work of these groups has emerged. There is little question that in recent years public interest groups have gained...

  6. CHAPTER II The Origins and Maintenance of Public Interest Organizations
    (pp. 18-44)

    To inquire about the origins of interest groups is to ask a fundamental question about the American political process. Why is it that some groups of people become organized into interest groups whereas others remain unrepresented? A first step in trying to answer this complex question is to explore the genesis of interest group organizations. What is the process that leads to the establishment of anorganizationfrom a particular constituency? What are the factors that account for the rise of successfully organized groups?

    A second step in this analysis is to look at the means by which interest group...

  7. CHAPTER III Organizational Resources
    (pp. 45-78)

    Public interest organizations act as intermediaries between their constituents and government officials. How effectively they are able to communicate on behalf of their members is determined, in part, by the amount of resources they are able to utilize. To understand public interest lobbying it is essential to examine both the resources available to these groups and the manner in which the government regulates their resource capabilities and opportunities.

    The behavior, and very existence, of public interest groups is strongly affected by the requirements of the Internal Revenue Code. Public interest groups are not big business, and they do not provide...

  8. CHAPTER IV Public Interest Representatives
    (pp. 79-109)

    The primary unit of analysis thus far has been the public interest organizations. No study of political organizations can afford to overlook the role of the individual activists. This is particularly true of lobbies, where the “organization” is often just one or two people. Because there exists a good deal of data on the backgrounds of private interest group lobbyists, some interesting and direct comparisons can be made. Beyond contrasting public interest activists with their private interest counterparts, this chapter has two further objectives. The first is to ascertain how the personal background and nature of the activists contribute to...

  9. CHAPTER V Speaking for Those Who Can’t: The Fund for Animals
    (pp. 110-140)

    A little over 20 years ago, while vacationing in Nogales, Mexico, an American tourist named Cleveland Amory paid a dollar to sit in the hot sun to watch a bullfight. Unlike most of the other spectators, however, Amory found nothing sporting or even skillful in the matadors’ methodic stalking and stabbing of the bulls. Amory recalls, “I saw not a single bull who entered the arena have any desire to do anything but find a way out.”

    The event so disturbed Amory that he proceeded to become active in a number of humane organizations. As he became more and more...

  10. CHAPTER VI “Fighting the Fights That Others Don’t”— The Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
    (pp. 141-177)

    If it is the conventional wisdom that political interest groups become more conservative as they grow older, the Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom is an exception to the “rule.”¹ The hopes, objectives, and philosophy of the organization are just as radical as they were when pacifist Jane Addams helped to found the WILPF more than 50 years ago. From World War I through the Vietnam War, the group has worked against what they regard as the immorality and insanity of human warfare.

    The Women’s International League has been trying to stop war since 1915, when more than 1000...

  11. CHAPTER VII Communication and Decision Making
    (pp. 178-211)

    The number of issues and subissues on which public interest groups would like to work is always far in excess of the number on which they are actually able to become active. Each group must decide how it will commit its limited resources. The organizations must not only choose the issues on which they will lobby, but they must also determine, consciously or otherwise, how much of their resources to allocate and the manner in which the resources will be expended. This chapter and the two that follow will discuss these processes of organizational choice. The present chapter will examine...

  12. CHAPTER VIII The Tactics of Advocacy …
    (pp. 212-252)

    Because almost all public interest organization staffs either dominate or participate as an equal partner in decision making, policy decisions are rarely divorced from decisions concerning strategy and tactics. With their limited resources, groups must try to allocate personnel and money in the most effective and efficient manner. Interest groups have a number of alternative methods of advocacy open to them. This chapter attempts both to describe the available choices and to analyze their use by public interest lobbies.

    The selection of particular tactics by public interest groups is affected strongly by predispositions toward basic strategies of influence.Strategymay...

  13. CHAPTER IX … And the Strategies of Influence
    (pp. 253-285)

    The tactics of interest group advocacy have been described as a set of alternative actions open to staff lobbyists. Each tactic has unique costs and benefits associated with its utilization. Explaining the actual choice of lobbying tactics is no easy task, however, for there is much more that needs to be considered than just the individual tactics themselves. An attempt will be made here to try to relate the choice of tactics to the organizational and environmental variables that affect lobbying decisions. The framework to be developed is intended to synthesize the findings of the previous chapters into a coherent...

  14. CHAPTER X Public Interest Groups and the Governmental Process
    (pp. 286-292)

    Individuals who belong to public interest groups have strong public policy sentiments to the degree that they are willing to “do something” about them. Beyond their votes in elections, this “something” includes, at a minimum, financial support of an advocacy organization that is actively trying to influence governmental actions in a particular policy area. Their support, depending on the organization to which they belong and their own personal commitment, may extend to letter writing, participation in political protests, or even volunteer work in a local chapter of the group. Given the diversity of the organizations in the sample, it is...

  15. APPENDIX A Interview Schedule
    (pp. 293-297)
  16. APPENDIX B Sample of Public Interest Groups Used in the Study
    (pp. 298-300)
  17. APPENDIX C A Note on Research Methods
    (pp. 301-306)
    (pp. 307-320)
  19. INDEX
    (pp. 321-331)
  20. Back Matter
    (pp. 332-332)