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- Benjamin Page
- How interest groups influence public opinion: Arguments matter more than the sources
- Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
In this paper we show how a realistic normative democratic theory can work within the constraints set by the most pessimistic empirical results about voting behaviour and elite capture of the policy process. After setting out the empirical evidence and discussing some extant responses by political theorists, we argue that the evidence produces a two-pronged challenge for democracy: an epistemic challenge concerning the quality and focus of decision-making and an oligarchic challenge concerning power concentration. To address the challenges we then put forward three main normative claims, each of which is compatible with the evidence.
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Martin Gilens 17 Estimated H-index: View Paper. Add to Collection. Each of four theoretical traditions in the study of American politics—which can be characterized as theories of Majoritarian Electoral Democracy, Economic-Elite Domination, and two types of interest-group pluralism, Majoritarian Pluralism and Biased Pluralism—offers different predictions about which sets of actors have how much influence over public policy: average citizens; economic elites; and organized interest groups, mass-based or business-oriented. A great deal of empirical research speaks to the policy influence of one or another set of actors, but until recently it has not been possible to test these contrasting theoretical predictions against each other within a single statistical model. We report on an effort to do so, using a unique data set that includes measures of the key variables for 1, policy issues. Multivariate analysis indicates that economic elites and organized groups representing business interests have substantial independent impacts on U.
Benjamin Ingrim Page born c. Fulcher professor of decision making at Northwestern University. His interests include American politics and U. In , Page, alongside co-author Martin Gilens , appeared on The Daily Show   to discuss their study that found the policy-making process of American politics is dominated by economic elites. Page graduated cum laude from Stanford University in with an A. He completed his J. Page worked as an assistant professor for many institutions including Dartmouth, the University of Chicago, and University of Wisconsin.
How interest groups influence public opinion: Arguments matter more than the sources
Jun 19, W. Edmundson Add a Comment. Students of American democracy have divided on the point. Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Majoritarian Electoral Democracy holds that policy outcomes are determined largely by the views of average citizens.
Through what mechanism do interest groups shape public opinion on concrete policies? In this article, three hypotheses are proposed that distinguish between the effect of the arguments conveyed by interest groups and the effect of interest groups as source cues. This is so even when accounting for people's trust in the interest groups that serve as source cues and for people's level of information about a policy. The finding that interest groups affect public opinion via arguments rather than as source cues has implications for the literature on elite influence on public opinion and the normative evaluation of interest group activities.
By Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page Perspectives on Politics, April 9, , forthcoming Fall
Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens
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Testing Theories of American Politics: Elites, Interest Groups, and Average Citizens by Martin Gilens and Benjamin I. Page in Cambridge Journals. Definitions of.
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