Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy

cover art
224 pp., 6 x 9
ISBN: 9780878406821 (0878406824)

ISBN: 9781589018334

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May 1998
LC: 97-41520



Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy
William P. Browne

Selected as an Outstanding Academic Book by Choice magazine

Synthesizing theory, personal research, and prior studies on interest groups and other lobbies, William P. Browne offers a new, insightful overview of organized political interests and explains how and why they affect public policy.

Drawing on his extensive experience researching interest groups, Browne assesses the impact that special interests have long had in shaping policy. He explains how they fit into the policymaking process and into society, how they exercise their influence, and how they adapt to changing circumstances.

Browne describes the diversity of existing interests-associations, businesses, foundations, churches, and others-and explores the multidimensional tasks of lobbying, from disseminating information through making financial contributions to cultivating the media. He shows how organized interests target not just the public and policymakers but even other interest groups, and how they create policy niches as a survival strategy. He also looks at winnable issues, contrasts them with more difficult ones, and explains what makes the difference.

Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy is a serious study written in a lighthearted tone. It offers political scientists a new theory of how and why interest groups influence public policy while it enlightens students and general readers about how policy is actually shaped in America.

William P. Browne is a professor of political science at Central Michigan University. An authority on agricultural policy as well as interest groups and a longtime observer of lobbyists, he has written numerous books, including Cultivating Congress: Constituents, Issues, and Interests in Agricultural Policymaking.
"William Browne's Groups, Interests, and U.S. Public Policy is a quirky, brassy, and personal account of the place of interest groups in American politics. Browne covers a lot of ground. Seamlessly synthesizing and summarizing decades of empirical and theoretical work on interest groups, Browne examines what interest groups are, what they do, how they operate, and how they influence public policy."—Journal of Politics

"This very personal guided tour of the world of interest group politics is led by a scholar who has visited all of its locales. Both comprehensive and iconoclastic, it places interest groups at the very core of American politics and public policy."—David Lowery, Burton Craige Professor of Political Science, University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill