The Group Basis of City Politics

Jeffrey M. Berry

Tufts University

Kent E. Portney

Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service


APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper

How do nonprofits empower themselves? In this paper we analyze nonprofit advocacy in city politics, emphasizing especially their interaction with local policymakers. First we discuss what we call the “politics of place” in cities, examining the participation of three types of citywide and neighborhood nonprofits. The second section develops two lines of inquiry and articulates a set of hypotheses that grow out of a theoretical construct relating to low barriers to entry. Next, after describing the empirical methodology, those hypotheses are tested with data derived from large scale surveys in 50 of the nation’s largest cities. The subjects of these three surveys are city councilors, agency administrators, and interest group advocates. We find that access to policymakers in city politics is relatively easy as the barriers to entry for advocates is quite low. Not surprisingly the evidence points to a privileged position for business, though neighborhood associations also stand out in terms of incorporation into the policymaking process.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 24

Keywords: city politics, nonprofits, advocacy

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Date posted: August 1, 2011 ; Last revised: August 3, 2011

Suggested Citation

Berry, Jeffrey M. and Portney, Kent E., The Group Basis of City Politics (2011). APSA 2011 Annual Meeting Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1901597

Contact Information

Jeffrey M. Berry (Contact Author)
Tufts University ( email )
Medford, MA 02155
United States
Kent E. Portney
Texas A&M University - George Bush School of Government and Public Service ( email )
College Station, TX 77843
United States
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