Local Interests: Politics, Policy, and Interest Groups in US City Governments (Paperback)
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A policy-focused approach to understanding the role of interest groups in US municipal governments.
Local politics in the United States once seemed tranquil compared to the divisiveness and dysfunction of the country’s national politics. Those days have passed. As multiple wide-ranging crises have thrust America’s local governments into the spotlight, they have also exposed policy failures and systemic problems that have mounted for years. While issues such as policing and the cost of housing are debated nationally, much of the policymaking surrounding these issues occurs locally. In Local Interests, Sarah F. Anzia explores how local governments—and the interest groups that try to influence them—create the policies that drive the national conversation: policing, economic development, housing, and challenges of taxing and spending.
Anzia examines local interest groups in terms of the specific policies they pursue, including how these groups get active in politics and what impact they have. By offering new perspectives on these issues, Anzia contributes to our knowledge of how interest groups function and the significant role they play in shaping broader social outcomes.
About the Author
Sarah F. Anzia is associate professor of public policy and political science at the University of California, Berkeley.
"This innovative book studies the influence of interest groups on the workings of city governments in the US....This book is a needed corrective to studies on political interest groups and reinforces the importance of local elections to the national electoral process."
"Anzia convincingly and provocatively shows that local governments are a better arena to study interest groups than federal ones...this is a highly innovative and impactful must-read."
"Do interest groups promote democracy by representing the views of their constituents before government, or do they distort democracy because such representation is skewed in favor of those with great resources? In her important and ambitious new book, Anzia addresses this question squarely, oﬀering a new approach to measuring the impact of interest groups....Local Interests is a resolutely statistical work, as Anzia harnesses the power of her large database to map out the interaction between lobbies and city governments."
— Perspectives on Politics
"Local Interests enters a realm of politics that, while dynamic and contested, operates differently from the partisan and ideological frames that are second nature to most Americans. By unveiling the distinctive character of local political life and the interest groups that shape it, Anzia has made a major contribution."
— City Journal
"Local Interests shows that there is a gold mine of promising interest group research to be had that focuses on America’s cities and counties....Local Interests lends academic rigor to this common knowledge and pushes forward a promising new school of thought centered on interest groups among public policy researchers."
— Interest Groups & Advocacy
"An incredibly important, field changing book. Anzia offers a completely novel description of what goes on in modern city politics. She effectively counters the (persistent) belief that local government activity is apolitical, custodial, or issueless by showing that groups have identifiable interests in local policy outcomes, and that they actively work to achieve those goals. Anzia is a gifted writer and an even more gifted thinker; she offers deep insights in every chapter."
— Jessica Trounstine, University of California, Merced
"Local Interests will be the definitive account of interest group influence in local government. The book is original and sound, assessing the relationships between the strength of business, labor, and other groups and public policy choices—from hot topics like police body cameras to less salient but critical areas like business tax incentives."
— Matt Grossmann, Michigan State University