My upcoming research into the political economy of the recent food price crisis sends me delving into the political science and sociology literatures to better understand the political influences the teams of researchers and I will be investigating. I'm going through a number of models to identify factors our teams should examine in their country contexts. The first model: The Insider/Outsider Model. I greatly welcome any recommendations readers have for papers or models I should be considering. [Note: there is also an insider/outsider model that is largely about labor economics rather than political economy - this isn't that, though one paper draws on it.]
1) Maloney, Jordan, and McLaughlin (1994), "Interest Groups and Public Policy: The Insider/Outsider Model Revisited" J. of Public Policy, Vol. 14, No. 1, 17-38.
1) Insiders consult with governments about policies while outsiders use mass media and other, public means of communicating and accomplishing their goals. While others are content to point out that the Insider and Outsider classifications are a bit "vague" and "fuzzy," MJM details how to improve on the definitions. They suggest splitting the labels into two classifications: strategies and status. Any group can choose insider or outsider strategy, but it is possible that even groups that choose insider strategies are ignored by the government, or their consultations have no effect. Thus, groups may pursue insider strategies while having outsider status even as other groups (e.g. Greenpeace) that pursue both insider and outsider strategies are accorded insider status. Groups are helped in achieving insider status to the extent they already agree with government positions, have uniquely important information to share, or can provide other benefits from inclusion.
"Policymakers should not be ... imagined as some kind of citadel resisting invaders. ... Civil servants ... look for external views. Policy making is not a case of groups begging government to let them in, but of government trying to make use of what exists in the group society." (p. 21) At the same time, "Government cannot be characterised as the central all-commanding actor who unilaterally ... decides who gains access ... and who doesn't" (p. 23).
They mention Grant's (1989) division of insiders into Prisoner groups (dependent on government assistance, so have limited strategy space), Low Profile insiders (no mass media), and High Profile (also use appeals to public opinion); and outsiders into Potential Insiders (want in, but lack strategy, resources, or acceptance), Outsiders by Necessity (want in, but lack skills), and Ideological Outsiders. There are also Thresholders who use both sets of strategies. Groups seeking incremental change will be more readily acceptable to governments than those seeking extreme change. "The attention of students of public policy needs to be focused on the unpredictable circumstances when peripheral insider groups have influence."