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Linking Citizens to Government : Interest Group Politics at Common Cause - Lawrence S. Rothenberg

Linking Citizens to Government

Interest Group Politics at Common Cause

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Published: 28th December 1992
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Lawrence Rothenberg examines some of the most elusive aspects of interest group operations through an in-depth study of one of the largest interest groups in Washington, Common Cause. In developing what might be called a membership theory, he asks such questions as: Why do members join a group? Who stays and who leaves and why? What is the nature of the relationships among the activists, the group leaders and the rank-and-file members? How do these relationships shape the lobbying policies of the group? How is the lobbying impact of a group related to the nature of its membership? In addition, Rothenberg analyzes the impact the lobbying efforts of Common Cause have had through case studies of the Congressional vote on the MX missile system and of the agenda setting behind the campaign finance reform bill.

"Among the book's considerable strengths are its methodological sophistication, its use of the concept of experiential search, and its treatment of the connectedness of decisions at individual. organizational, and policy levels." Contemporary Sociology "To my knowledge this is the first time someone has made the useful distinction between members, activists, and leaders in an interest group and actually produced data about the activists. I believe it is one of the best interest-group studies ever done." Andrew McFarland, University of Illinois at Chicago "To my knowledge this is the first time someone has made the useful distinction between members, activists, and leaders in an interest group and actually produced data about the activists. I believe it is one of the best interest-group studies ever done." Andrew McFarland, University of Illinois at Chicago "...an important book that should be read by interest group scholars and those interested in general represenation matters in American politics...What Rothenberg has provided is a way to think about and conduct research on individual groups as integrated entities. It is a large step in the right direction." Allan J. Cigler, American Political Science Review

List of figures
List of tables
Preface
Organized groups and the political systemp. 1
Understanding organized groups: The lack of consensusp. 1
Moving aheadp. 4
The focus of analysis: Common Causep. 7
Some caveatsp. 12
Structure of the analysisp. 13
A unified framework for understanding citizens' decision making: A theory of experiential searchp. 15
Toward a unified viewp. 15
General analytic approaches to citizens' decision makingp. 15
Members' decision makingp. 17
A theory of experiential searchp. 21
Common Cause and experiential searchp. 24
Conclusions: Experiential search as a unified frameworkp. 28
Who contributes?p. 29
Common Cause members: Painting a portraitp. 29
Common Cause members and the national citizenryp. 30
Sociodemographic differencesp. 31
Political attitudesp. 36
Participatory activitiesp. 41
Summaryp. 42
The Common Cause membership: Activists versus rank and filep. 43
Sociodemographic differencesp. 44
Political attitudesp. 47
Participatory activitiesp. 54
Summaryp. 56
Conclusions: Group members--external and internal comparisonsp. 56
Appendix 3.1. Question wording of Common Cause and National Election Study questionsp. 58
General political attitudesp. 58
Specific political attitudesp. 59
Participatory activitiesp. 62
Why do citizens join groups?p. 63
Joining--the first stepp. 63
Studying the membership choicep. 64
Why members think they joinedp. 66
The determinants of membership: An individual-level analysisp. 69
Measurementp. 75
Estimationp. 77
Resultsp. 78
An aggregate-level replicationp. 82
Choosing among public interest groupsp. 86
Conclusions: The determinants of membershipp. 93
Appendix 4.1. Critique of Kau and Rubinp. 95
Appendix 4.2. Formal presentation of WESML estimatorp. 99
The internal politics of organizations I: Learning and retentionp. 100
Life in the organizationp. 100
Do members learn?p. 102
Exploring the retention processp. 108
Measurementp. 110
Understanding retentionp. 111
A validity checkp. 120
Conclusions: Learning, the retention choice, and experiential searchp. 123
Appendix 5.1. Testing the retention modelp. 124
The internal politics of organizations II: Activismp. 127
Separating the activists from the rank and filep. 127
Checkbook versus temporal activismp. 128
Checkbook activism and its determinantsp. 130
Temporal activism: An introductionp. 134
Alternative scenariosp. 136
The costs and benefits of Common Cause activismp. 137
An empirical test: Activism and Common Causep. 139
Measurement and estimationp. 140
Resultsp. 144
Activism: A validity testp. 151
A final note: Activism and retention as a joint commitment decisionp. 152
Conclusions: Moving upp. 156
The internal politics of organizations III: Leadership behavior and the determinants of group goalsp. 158
Moving from the "demand" to the "supply" sidep. 158
Democratic processes at Common Causep. 160
Members' attitudes toward representationp. 166
Shifting the issue agendap. 169
The MX missile debatep. 171
A strange match: Common Cause versus MXp. 173
Theoretical perspectives on organizational goalsp. 176
Common Cause, goal formation, and the MX missilep. 180
Making sense of it all: The politics of organizational goalsp. 186
Conclusions: Leadership behavior and goal formationp. 187
Does group activity make a difference? The case of the MX missilep. 190
The policy linkagep. 190
Lobbying strategy and voting behaviorp. 194
Setting the stage: The battle for the Peacekeeperp. 196
The role of the MX's opponentsp. 202
Does lobbying make a difference?p. 203
Measurement and estimationp. 205
Resultsp. 209
The structural determinants of lobbyingp. 215
Conclusions: Voting, lobbying, and public policyp. 221
Does group activity make a difference? The politics of campaign financep. 223
Returning to coursep. 223
Campaign finance, the MX, and Common Causep. 224
Charting the divisionsp. 229
Events of 1985-1991p. 234
The entrepreneurs: Boren and Byrdp. 235
The first offensive: The push for PAC reformp. 237
The second offensive: Byrd joins the frayp. 241
Life after Byrdp. 244
Common Cause and campaign finance reformp. 247
Conclusions: Coalition formation and group influencep. 252
Conclusions: Citizens' preferences, internal politics, and public policyp. 255
Interest groups and representationp. 255
Individual choice, internal politics, and systemic influencep. 256
Individual choice behaviorp. 257
Internal politics and goal formationp. 259
Systemic impactp. 260
The big picturep. 262
Linking citizens to policyp. 262
Viewing organizationsp. 265
Some final thoughtsp. 266
Notesp. 267
Referencesp. 293
Indexp. 303
Table of Contents provided by Blackwell. All Rights Reserved.

ISBN: 9780521425773
ISBN-10: 0521425778
Audience: Professional
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 328
Published: 28th December 1992
Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 23.9 x 17.0  x 1.8
Weight (kg): 0.44