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American Business and Political Power : Public Opinion, Elections, and Democracy

By: Smith, Mark A.
Material type: TextTextSeries: eBooks on Demand.Studies in Communication, Media, and Public Opinion: Publisher: Chicago : University of Chicago Press, 2014Description: 1 online resource (259 p.).ISBN: 9780226764658.Subject(s): Business and politics -- United States | Lobbying -- United States | Power (Social sciences) -- United States | Pressure groups -- United States | Public opinion -- United StatesGenre/Form: Electronic books.Additional physical formats: Print version:: American Business and Political Power : Public Opinion, Elections, and DemocracyDDC classification: 322.3 Online resources: Click here to view this ebook.
Contents:
Contents -- List of Tables and Figures -- Acknowledgments -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Business Unity and Its Consequences for Representative Democracy -- 3. Identifying Business Unity -- 4. A Portrait of Unifying Issues -- 5. Public Opinion, Elections, and Lawmaking -- 6. Overt Sources of Business Power -- 7. Structural Sources of Business Power -- 8. The Role of Business in Shaping Public Opinion -- 9. The Compatibility of Business Unity and Popular Sovereignty -- Appendix A: Additional Coding Rules Used to Uncover Positions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce
Appendix B: The Potential for Feedback between Policy and Opinion -- References -- Index
Summary: Most people believe that large corporations wield enormous political power when they lobby for policies as a cohesive bloc. With this controversial book, Mark A. Smith sets conventional wisdom on its head. In a systematic analysis of postwar lawmaking, Smith reveals that business loses in legislative battles unless it has public backing. This surprising conclusion holds because the types of issues that lead businesses to band together-such as tax rates, air pollution, and product liability-also receive the most media attention. The ensuing debates give citizens the information they need to hol
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Contents -- List of Tables and Figures -- Acknowledgments -- 1. Introduction -- 2. Business Unity and Its Consequences for Representative Democracy -- 3. Identifying Business Unity -- 4. A Portrait of Unifying Issues -- 5. Public Opinion, Elections, and Lawmaking -- 6. Overt Sources of Business Power -- 7. Structural Sources of Business Power -- 8. The Role of Business in Shaping Public Opinion -- 9. The Compatibility of Business Unity and Popular Sovereignty -- Appendix A: Additional Coding Rules Used to Uncover Positions of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce

Appendix B: The Potential for Feedback between Policy and Opinion -- References -- Index

Most people believe that large corporations wield enormous political power when they lobby for policies as a cohesive bloc. With this controversial book, Mark A. Smith sets conventional wisdom on its head. In a systematic analysis of postwar lawmaking, Smith reveals that business loses in legislative battles unless it has public backing. This surprising conclusion holds because the types of issues that lead businesses to band together-such as tax rates, air pollution, and product liability-also receive the most media attention. The ensuing debates give citizens the information they need to hol

Description based upon print version of record.

Reviews provided by Syndetics

CHOICE Review

Smith (political science, Univ. of Washington) provides an in-depth examination of the power of businesses in the American legislative process, addressing a core research question: to what degree can businesses, when united around a particular issue, influence the passage of bills in Congress? Smith offers a thoughtful and well-supported discussion of characteristics of issues that typically inspire business collusions and challenges the assumption that businesses are highly influential when they unite around a legislative issue. While countervailing perspectives are not new to discussions on politics, Smith's arguments are lent credence through solid data and appropriate empirical tests. He considers the relationship between legislative decisions and business preferences about those decisions over a 40-year period. The author's basic finding is that public attitudes often trump the position of business, causing business influence to be impotent with respect to legislative decisions. Smith then explores the potential influence of manifestations of business power on his fundamental findings, e.g., political action committee contributions, the state of the national economy, and funding think tanks. The results are consistent. In all, Smith provides readers interested in business-government interactions with a solid and scholarly work that will force rethinking of assumptions commonly held in the field. Recommended for academic and research collections. T. Blumentritt; Marquette University

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