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Glossary of Interest Groups

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amicus curiae brief
A brief is a document filed with a court containing a legal argument supporting a desired outcome in a particular case. An amicus curiae brief is filed by a party not directly involved in the litigation but with an interest in the outcome of the case.
collective good
Something enjoyed by all members of a society or community, such as clean air.
direct technique
Direct interaction with government officials that is used by interest groups to further their goals.
economic interest group
Interest groups that work to gain economic benefits for their members.
Federal Regulation of Lobbying Act
Sought to regulate the lobbying activities of pressure groups.
free-rider problem
Interest groups face this when people can benefit from their activities without actually joining or participating in the interest group.
gridlock
A complete lack of movement or progress in the passage of legistlation, typically resulting from conflicts between political parties or between Congress and president.
incumbent
A person who holds an office or an official position.
indirect technique
The use by interest groups of third parties to influence government officials and their decisions.
Interest groups
A group of organized individuals who share common goals and try to influence government decision makers on issues that directly or indirectly affect the members of the group.
iron triangle
A three-way alliance between political organizations or agents. Thought that these hinder the political process by putting their own interests ahead of national interests.
labor movement
Generally speaking, the concerns and expressions of hte working class regarding the economy and politics. In a political sense, the organization of working-class groups to further their economic and political interests.
lobbying
Efforts by individuals or organizations to pass, defeat, change, or influence the crafting of law and the decisions, policies, and actions of the government.
material incentive
An economic motivation for doing something.
political action committee (PAC)
An interest group that gives money collectd from members to political candidates or parties. PAC's have revolutionized campaign finance.
pressure system
A theory of American politics in which organized special interest groups dominate government.
private interest group
An interest group workng in the interests of a small group of people, as opposed to a public interest group.
professional interest group
Type of private interest group that represents the interests of professionals.
public employee interests group
A type of private interest group that works to further the interests of government employees.
public interest
To the benefit of the members of an entire community. Generallly, this is in contrast to a private interest, or something that is of benefit to and individual or group.
public interest group
A type of interest group that work on issues affecting broad segments of the population. Public interest groups often form as social movements mature.
purposive incentive
A motivation that is dependent on ethical beliefs, values, or idealogical principles.
selective incentive
Material benefits availabe to members of an interest group. These are given to avoid the "free-rider" problem.
single-issue group
Interest group concerned with a single issue, such as the National Rifle Association.
social movement
Activation of a segment of the public for political, economic, or social change.
soft money
Campaign contributions t
solidary incentive
Motivation based onthe shared association, hobbies, or interests.
subsidy
Financial aid that the goverment provides to individuals, groups, businesses, or other levels of government.

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