Interest groups sponsor initiative campaigns in order to circumvent legislative opposition to their goals.
The insurance industry, trial lawyers' associations, and tobacco companies have sponsored initiative campaigns.
Interest groups play a part in initiative campaigns because they can cost millions of dollars.
It's hard to find a clear answer among the mountains of research.
Earmarks are a good example.
Earmarks are expenditures on particu lar projects in specific districts or states, and they are usually included in a bill late in the legislative process to help secure enough votes for passage.
Earmarks are written into law every year.
Lobbying had a limited effect on the amount of earmarked funds for college and university clients, but the magnitude of the effect depended on institutional factors.
Some cases showed high returns.
For every $1 spent on lobbying, schools in states with a senator on the Senate Appropriations Committee received $18 to $29 in Earmarks.
For every $1 spent on lobbying, schools in congressional districts received between $49 and $55.
The results suggest that politics and institutions are related.
Lobbying can't gain much if you don't have access to influential members of Congress.
Lobbying for representation on congressional appropriations committees is still needed by schools with access.
The potential return is substantial if they do so.
The claim that interest group politics drive American democracy is challenged when we consider how much political advocacy occurs.
Any dollar spent by an organization on political activity is a dollar well spent, according to the usual argument about the influence of lobbyists and campaign contributions.
It can be turned on its head.
If a dollar is well spent, groups should spend as much as possible on politics, and total spending should reflect the value of political action to those groups, relative to their other investments.
Most organizations involved in politics are firms, so view the political actions of any firm as a business decision.
Lobbyists help shape legislation, influence administrative decisions, and advocate in court for their clients.
Purchase new machines, purchase another company, hire additional employees are some of the investments a firm can make.
"Why is there so little money in the US?"
"Academic Earmarks and the Returns to Lobbying" working paper 9064 was published in 2002 by the National Bureau of Economic Research.
Firms spend a small amount of money on political activity.
The amount of money someone is willing to pay for a product in a market is roughly the same as the value of it.
The U.S. economy is valued at $19.5 trillion, government expenditures are about $4.2 trillion, and corporate profits exceed $1.9 trillion.
Lobbying expenditures are less than one-tenth of 1 percent and are only a trace amount of firms' total expenses.
If the returns on political investment were high, then we should see large firms like Microsoft, General Electric, and Walmart spending more on politics.
Mancur thinks that groups are free.
Those who are engaged should spend more to get even greater returns.
A more compelling answer is suggested by the line of thinking.
The United States has a wide-open political system with many points of access and influence, meaning that no one group can have much influence.
Our political system makes it difficult to have immediate influence over the legislative and executive branches because of the separation of powers.
The argument that all interests will find expression through political organization is wrong, but it is correct that a system of divided political authority in the United States makes it hard for certain groups to dominate the political.
Government in the US is responsive to the public's preferences and needs through an open and democratic process.
The Bill of Rights includes freedom of speech, the press, and assembly.
The nation's laws have provided for open meetings, citizen advisory commissions, lobbying, direct contact from constituents, contributions from interested individuals and groups, an open legal system, protests, and many other routes through which individuals and groups may advocate for their interests.
"Why Is There So Little Money in U.S.?"
was written by Ansolabehere et al.
Through the many points of access, representatives and government officials learn how their decisions affect the public.
Many interests compete for the attention and support of the government in politics.
In the United States, tens of thousands of organizations compete in the political sphere, and countless other movements and coordinated efforts of citizens rise and fall as issues come into the public arena.
The sort of politics the Founders envisioned is compatible with this.
The system of government is not perfect.
The policies and laws of the U.S. government are thought to favor those who are organized.
Those who can use their resources to represent their interests before the government are encouraged by the American interest group system.
The legislature, the administrative agencies of the executive, the courts, and even the electorate are places where people and organizations that can muster the financial resources can best make their case.
Firms and unions that exist for other reasons than to gain political influence have the least difficulty in getting resources.
Problems of collective action and free riding prevent the development of permanent political organizations that can pressure the government.
Businesses, unions, and professional and industry associations are less likely to face obstacles to organization and group maintenance than are volunteer associations.
Conflicts among those engaged in economic activity can often be reflected in interest group politics in Washington, D.C.
The collective action problem can be solved by firms, unions, and other organizations.
Political power is derived from the ability to vote on measures, introduce legislation or block actions from happening.
These are things that interest groups can't do.
The appropriate institutions for these organizations to seek support in are a court with a sympathetic judge or a congressional subcommittee with a sympathetic chair.
Groups often succeed by providing expertise to the government and learning from those in office about the impact of new rules.
Interest group politics doesn't fit stereotypes of power and influence.
The backroom dealings of the "old lobby" are an anachronism as there are as many lobbyists as ever.
Interest group politics involves many interests vying for attention in an increasingly crowded field.
A given organization's efforts may be canceled out by competing interests.
Those who must ultimately make political decisions and be held accountable consider other voices as well.
The debate takes place inside the institutions of government.
It happens in the media as well.
The final part of our discussion of democracy in America is the forum.
Ansolabehere, Stephen, John M. de Figueiredo, and James M.