Advancing Research • Shaping Policy • Developing Leaders
American Politics & Public Policy Workshop: Steven Teles, “Organizational Maintenance, The Funder-Grantee Nexus, and the Trajectory of American Political Development”
Wednesday, April 15, 2015 - 4:00pm through 5:15pm
“Organizational Maintenance, The Funder-Grantee Nexus, and the Trajectory of American Political Development”
Guest Speaker: Steven Teles, Associate Professor of Political Science, The Johns Hopkins University
Abstract: A substantial part of the financing of non-profit political activity in the United States is provided by “third parties”–those other than the “members” represented by those groups. The most important third party are charitable foundations, an actor that has been largely overlooked by political scientists. While much of the debate around foundations has been about how they influence equality of voice, I argue that there are important theoretical reasons to believe that they also influence the strategy and functioning of interest groups. Interest groups have, as James Q Wilson famously argued, fundamental organizational maintenance motivations that influence their choice of issues and internal organization, and so do foundations. It as at the point at which those two organizational maintenance imperatives intersect that group behavior is set. Critically, that “funder-grantee nexus” is different on the right and left, and this difference helps us explain a number of otherwise puzzling features of the politics of the last few decades.
Steven Teles is Associate Professor of Political Science at the Johns Hopkins University. He is the author of The Rise of the Conservative Legal Movement (Princeton) and is at work on two books, one on changes in large charitable foundations over the last half century, and the other a study of why conservatives have changed their position on mass incarceration.