Interest Groups and Policy Making

1929 Words Apr 10th, 2011 8 Pages
‘The involvement of civil society and interests in policy – making is a constructive way to involve representative groups in the policy process and is conducive to economic growth’ Discuss whether you agree with this statement, with reference to Olson’s critique of interest groups.

Introduction
The aim of this assignment is to look at the effect civil society and interest groups have on policy making and how in turn these are either conducive or not to the economy. Olson’s critique of interest groups will also be examined.
What are interest groups?
Interest groups are non profit, non violent associations of individuals or other organisations that are independent of governments that aggregate interests and inject them into the policy
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He goes on to explain how the law when finally passed is unlikely to mirror their exact interest, as when it moved through the legislative process other interest groups asserted their influence to modify it in ways to accommodate their interest. This gives us a simple but clear idea of the effect interest groups have on policy making and makes one wonder the conduciveness of such actions to the economy if politics are to pamper to the interests of interest groups. Murphy (2010) also outlined that interest groups do not only effect government but they also exercise their influence on policy through public and private channels both directly and indirectly.
Social Partnership
Since 1987 Ireland has conducted public policy by means of social partnership between the state and economic and social interests. The National Economic and Social Council (NESC) is an advisory body which employers, trade unions, farmers and civil servants analyse policy issues and seek consensus on policy directions. This was then replaced by the National Economic and Social Forum (NESF) to include members of the Oireachtas, the traditional social partners and others form the unemployed sectors and women’s organisation. Partnership (2000) was negotiated by this wider set of ogranisations. In the 1996 report on ‘Strategy into the 21st Century’, the NESC outlined a variety of