Two models of interest group behavior are outlined and discussed. The cooptation model finds organized interest groups establishing informal contacts with city officials and achieving political favors through these informal channels. The petition model finds interest groups confronting public officials in the public arena securing favors from city government by threatening to use their resources to build oppositional coalitions. Our goal was to see if structural conditions in a community make one or the other strategy more successful. Our findings suggest that cooptation is more common in cities with less complex economic and social structures, but petition is more common in cities with more complex structures. Furthermore, in cities with weaker city governments cooptation is more common, while petition is more common with strong city governments. Finally, we found an interaction effect that cooptation occurs in complex systems but only if city government is weak.
ASJC Scopus subject areas
- Sociology and Political Science
- Urban Studies