Broad interests, narrow interests, and the politics of the budgetary process

April 14, 2014

Broad interests, narrow interests, and the politics of the budgetary process

Interest politics, as opposed to party politics, make fixing Illinois’ budget problems very complex and difficult. All people and businesses have multiple and overlapping interests in what the state does. Thinking about broad and narrow interests helps understand them. Broad interests are those that many people hold weakly; for example, we all have an interest in a balanced state budget. Narrow interests are those that fewer people hold, but they often do so very strongly; for example, all teachers have an interest in higher pay for educators. Strongly held narrow interests frequently crowd out broader interests People will organize groups to pursue their narrow interests, hire lobbyists, and fight for their cause in Springfield. People will not be bothered to do so in pursuit of their broader interests. There are thousands of narrow interests at play in state government, which causes the politics of the budgetary process to be complex and often intractable.


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Research Area: Politics & Government & Economic Policy

Policy Initiative: none

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