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date: 17 June 2019

Abstract and Keywords

Although it is conventional in political science to distinguish between political parties and interest groups, in practice the distinction is less clear. The conventional definitions suggest that political parties seek to capture power; interest groups aspire to influence public policy. Even the names of political parties make it obvious, however, that in practice this distinction is not absolute. The linkage in the UK between Labour parties and unions is usually clear. In the United States, the Minnesota branch of the Democratic Party is still called the Democratic Farm Labor Party. Farmers' parties used to be fairly common although as in the Swedish case they have generally adopted labels that are more encompassing such as, to continue the Swedish example, the Center Party. Parties do not call themselves “The Business Party” but are often described as such. What does this mean? On what basis is it reasonable to identify a party as the business party? There are a number of different indicators that can be used.

Keywords: political parties, interest groups, public policy, Labour parties, business party, political power

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