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Бакалаврская программа «Политология и мировая политика»

Interest Groups in Decision Making Process

Учебный год
Обучение ведется на английском языке
Курс по выбору
Когда читается:
3-й курс, 3, 4 модуль


Тарасенко Анна Васильевна

Course Syllabus


The course aims at studying the patterns of interest groups’ development and their role in decision-making process in contemporary societies. This broad topic will be examined through the analysis of various cases in Russia, Western and Eastern European countries. The course is focused on such interest groups as bureaucracy, business, trade unions, civic organizations and movements. Students will benefit from learning theoretical approaches (middle and low-level concepts such as interest group theory and the theory of organizations) and acquiring analytical skills of conducting analysis of empirical data drawing on various social and political contexts.
Learning Objectives

Learning Objectives

  • The main tasks of the course are the following: (1) to extend and shape a systematic knowledge about the role of interest groups in contemporary society and built it in common knowledge on political system functioning; (2) to introduce up to date theories on interest groups’ emergence and development drawing on Mankur Olson’s “dilemma of collective action”, free-rider problem, pluralist and corporatist perspectives, the involvement of interest groups in redistributive politics and patronage networks with politicians, functional and political representation in democracy; (3) to train academic skills to define interest groups, analyze their particularities and their role in decision making relying on acquired theoretical and empirical knowledge.
Expected Learning Outcomes

Expected Learning Outcomes

  • Students are capable of differentiating between various types of interest groups (according to the Sartori typology) and can provide empirical examples of any given type.
  • A student demonstrates knowledge on main trends in cooperation between Labour unions and social-democrats in Scandinavian countries
  • A student formulates main positive and negative effects of interest groups activity on social policy
  • A student understands and explains the correlation between welfare transformation and activity of interest groups
  • A student understands the phenomenon of patronage and clientelism
  • A student explains the impact of patronage and clientelism on policy-making
  • A student understands a dilemma of collective action
  • A student differentiates between collective and selective incentives for participation in collective action
  • A student explains why and what religious organizations can be considered as interest groups
  • A student relates and explains political regime dynamic and the activity of interest groups
  • A student identifies the main particularities of shared economy
Course Contents

Course Contents

  • Interest groups theory: main definitions and classifications. Large and small interest groups The dilemma of collective action and free-rider problem.
    Interest groups theory as a middle-range concept: the context and reasons of development. Definition and classification. Public choice theory, group theory and neo-institutionalism: economic explanations in political science. Approaches to the definition and classification of interest groups. Introduction of the Mancur Olson’s “The Logic of Collective Action”.
  • Labour unions and social-democrats in Scandinavian countries. The effects of weakening party–union ties on policymaking.
    Labour unions and social-democrats in Scandinavian countries. The intermediation between interest groups and political parties. The effects of weakening party–union ties on policymaking
  • The role of interest groups in policy changes. Transformation of the welfare system and rent-seeking activity of interest groups (welfare stakeholders).
    Transformation of the welfare systems globally and in Russia: the role of the phenomenon of "state capture" and "societal capture"
  • The intermediation between interest groups and politicians: clientelism, patronage and redistributive politics and the phenomenon of machine politics.
    Clientelism, Patronage and Redistributive politics. Approaches to clientelism and different types of “patron-client” relations. Political machine politics from the point of interest group’s costs and benefits
  • Social movements and explanation of incentives for collective action.
    The dilemma of collective action and a free-rider problem. The difference between large and small interest groups. Collective and selective incentives and overcoming of the free-rider problem in Mancur Olson’s “The Logic of Collective Action”. The
  • Religious-based interest groups and their place in contemporary society and governance.
    Catholic Church and political parties in Europe: Interest Group Approach. Why did French and Italian Churches choose to ally with Cristian Democratic parties? Why did German Catholic Church agree to support a party that had a significant Protestant component?
  • Functional and political interest representation in contemporary society. How nondemocratic political regimes with limited interest representation can be sustainable and effective in providing common goods (basic social rights).
    The dilemma of autocracies: the effectiveness of policy implementation and interest representation
  • Interest groups and Shared economy globally and in Russia. The case of Uber.
    Monopoly on market and possibilities for the evolvement of new interest groups. The case of Uber as a new provider of driving services (shared economy). GetTaxi, Яндекс.Такси as aggregators and moderators (new service, taxies reduce costs for clients). The conflict between clients’ interests (less costly, time effective) and inertia of traditional ways of service providers.
Assessment Elements

Assessment Elements

  • non-blocking In-class participation
  • non-blocking Individually passed test
  • non-blocking Exam: A written essay on the selected topic
Interim Assessment

Interim Assessment

  • Interim assessment (4 module)
    0.4 * Exam: A written essay on the selected topic + 0.3 * In-class participation + 0.3 * Individually passed test


Recommended Core Bibliography

  • ALLERN, E. H., AYLOTT, N., & CHRISTIANSEN, F. J. (2007). Social Democrats and trade unions in Scandinavia: The decline and persistence of institutional relationships. European Journal of Political Research, 46(5), 607–635. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1475-6765.2007.00706.x
  • Berry, J. M., & Maisel, L. S. (2010). The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups. Oxford: OUP Oxford. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=430970
  • Sharafutdinova, G., & Kisunko, G. (2014). Governors and governing institutions: a comparative study of state-business relations in Russia’s regions. Policy Research Working Paper Series. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.p.wbk.wbrwps.7038
  • Susanne Wengle, & Michael Rasell. (2008). The monetisation of : Changing patterns of welfare politics and provision in Russia. Europe-Asia Studies, (5), 739. https://doi.org/10.1080/09668130802085125
  • Tarrow, S. G. (2011). Power in Movement : Social Movements and Contentious Politics (Vol. Rev. & updated 3rd ed). New York: Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsebk&AN=357433

Recommended Additional Bibliography

  • Palokangas,Tapio. (2000). Labour Unions, Public Policy and Economic Growth. Cambridge University Press. Retrieved from http://search.ebscohost.com/login.aspx?direct=true&site=eds-live&db=edsrep&AN=edsrep.b.cup.cbooks.9780521663236