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I shall post videos, graphs, news stories, and other material. We shall use some of this material in class, and you may review the rest at your convenience. You will all receive invitations to post to the blog. I encourage you to use the blog in these ways:

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Friday, January 25, 2008

Associations

Rauch (p. 42) talks about a rise in the number of national associations. Check out more recent data from the Statistical Abstract of the United States (below). How do these figures compare? How might ch. 6 of Cigler and Loomis explain the pattern that you see?

1980 14,726
1990 22,289
1995 22,663
2000 21,840
2001 22,449
2002 22,141
2003 22,464
2004 22,659
2005 22,720
2006 23,772
You might see something similar with political action committees (PACs).
Note, however, that data on business enterprises have a different pattern.

1 comment:

Charlie Sarosy said...

Cigler and Loomis would describe the stagnation of interest groups after 1990 in more Darwinian,ecological terms as they use the population ecology model. Similar to how nature can only sustain a set population of living organisms because it will eventually run out of resources, the interest group system has reached its limit of the number of interest groups that it can sustain. The system has reached its "carrying capacity" and has run out of resources to sustain more interest groups. However, resources in this case would be possible members, money to maintain the interest group, access to legislators, and even an issue to represent. There are only so many issues that can be represented and people only care so much to join a couple of organizations that are fighting for an issue they care about. It comes down to survival of the fittest as each interest group competes for recognition, political influence, and money. Resources are thin, and the media is watching, interest groups must tread carefully or be replaced by some other interest group eager to take its resources.