Andreas Dür, Dirk De Bièvre
The Question of Interest Group Influence
Interest groups are a major channel through which citizens can express their opinions to decision-makers. Their participation in policymaking may improve decision-making processes by supporting policies that are in line with citizen preferences and blocking policies that solely reflect the interests of the governing elite. At the same time, however, intense interest group pressures may make it difficult for policy-makers to implement the most efficient policies since such policies often impose costs on parts of the public. Competition among interest groups over the distribution of economic gains may also slow down the rate of economic growth (Olson 1982). Finally, if some groups constantly win, interest group politics may undermine the legitimacy of electorally accountable decision making in a democracy.