Where most institutions of government are formally outlined in the constitution, interest groups (like parties) are founded and operate largely outside these formal structures. Their goal — for those that are politically active — is to influence policy without becoming part of government. They come in several types: protective groups work in the material interests of their members, promotional groups advocate ideas and policies of a more general nature, peak associations bring together multiple like-minded groups to help them exploit their numbers, and think-tanks work to shape the policy debate through research. A vibrant interest group community is generally a sign of a healthy civil society but it can also become a barrier to the implementation of the popular will as expressed in elections.
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- Interest Groups
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- Chapter 18