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Local Interests

Politics, Policy, and Interest Groups in US City Governments

Local Interests

Politics, Policy, and Interest Groups in US City Governments

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.

312 pages | 20 line drawings, 34 tables | 6 x 9 | © 2022

Political Science: American Government and Politics


"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."


"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

Table of Contents

Chapter 1. Interest Groups and Public Policy in US Local Government
Chapter 2. The Policy-Focused Approach to Studying Interest Groups
Chapter 3. How Active Are Interest Groups in Local Politics?
Chapter 4. What Kinds of Interest Groups Are Most Active?
Chapter 5. Political Parties in Local Politics
Chapter 6. Influence: Issues, Approach, and Expectations
Chapter 7. Business and Growth
Chapter 8. Unions, Public Safety, and Local Government Spending
Chapter 9. Interest Group Influence in Local Elections
Chapter 10. Local Interests and Power


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