Advertisement

Organized Groups and the (Mis?)Transmission of Public Preferences

Chapter
  • 152 Downloads
Part of the International Studies in Economics and Econometrics book series (ISEE, volume 28)

Abstract

This paper examines formally organized groups as vehicles for the expression of people’s preferences. The core questions are, first, whether the underlying distribution of preferences in society is reflected accurately in the society’s organizational structure and, second, whether state policies as shaped by interest-group pressure accurately reflect these preferences. This is a test, in short, of classic pluralist theory.

The data concern all not-for-profit corporations formed in the Canadian province of New Brunswick. Some information is derived from incorporation records and the rest is from a survey of active organizations.

Under certain assumptions about the relative importance of associations, the paper examines them in relation to three social cleavages which define preferences — ethnicity, class, and the urban-rural division. Distortions in preference-expression can arise because of differences in populations’ capacities to organize, differences in groups’ abilities to enter political markets and to succeed in them, and also because of state-induced biases in the structure and functioning of the associational system.

In the case at hand, most distortion across the cleavages examined arises from initial collective-action problems, rather than the working of political exchange or the effects on associations of state actors’ autonomous decisions. Moreover, these differences in the capacity of groups to organize appear to be correcting themselves somewhat. In this case, then, political markets seem to operate as widely accepted notions of democracy would prescribe.

Keywords

Interest Group Survey Question Civil Servant Policy Market Provincial Government 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.

Preview

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Bibliography

  1. Aunger,E.In Search of Political Stability.Montreal: McGill-Queen’s, 1981Google Scholar
  2. Becker, G. “A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence.”The Quarterly Journal of EconomicsXCVIII:3 (1983): 371–400CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  3. Bemholz, P. “Dominant Interest Groups and Powerless Parties: the mere fact of organization as a reason for the political influence of interest groups.”Kyklos30 (1977): 411–20CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  4. Bottomore, T. “Social Stratification in Voluntary Organizations.” In D.V. Glass, ed.Social Mobility in Britain.London: Routledge & Kagan Paul (1954): 349–382Google Scholar
  5. Dahl, Robert.Pluralist Democracy in the United States. Chicago: Rand McNally, 1967Google Scholar
  6. Denzau, A., and Munger, M. “Legislators and Interest Groups: How Unorganized Interests Get Represented.”American Political Science Review80:1 (1986): 89–106CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  7. Dion, P.et al.“Le Bilinguisme à la Commission d’Energie du Nouveau Brunswick.” Study for the New Brunswick Electric Power Commission, 1969Google Scholar
  8. Hansen, J. “The Political Economy of Group Membership.” The American Political Science Review 79:1 (1985): 79–96CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Leslie, P. “The Role of Constituency Party Organizations in Representing the Interests of Ethnic Minorities and Other Groups.” Ph.D. Thesis, Queen’s University, 1967Google Scholar
  10. Newton, K. Second-City Politics: Democratic Processes and Decision-Making in Birmingham. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1976Google Scholar
  11. Nordlinger, E.A. On the Autonomy of the Democratic State. Cambridge: Harvard University Press,1981Google Scholar
  12. Olson, M.The Logic of Collective Action.Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1965Google Scholar
  13. Pross, A.P.Group Politics and Public Policy.Toronto: Oxford University Press, 1986Google Scholar
  14. Salmon, P. “The Logic of Pressure Groups and the Structure of the Public Sector.”European Journal of Political Economy3:1–2 (Special Issue 1987): 55–86CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  15. Stigler, G. “Free Riders and Collective Action: an appendix to theories of economic regulation.”Bell Journal of Economics and Management Science5:2 (1974): 359–65CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  16. Walker, J. “The Organization and Maintenance of Interest Groups in America.”American Political Science Review77:2 (1983): 390–406CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  17. Young, R. “Teaching and Research in Maritimes Politics: Old Stereotypes and New Directions.”Journal of Canadian Studies21:2 (1986): 133–156Google Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media New York 1993

Authors and Affiliations

There are no affiliations available

Personalised recommendations