Social Reference Groups and Political Life comprehensively demonstrates and explains the variety of ways that reference groups shape citizens' political lives. Jeffrey W. Koch explains how groups serve as a link between the larger, complex political process that operates at a distance from the individual, who can contribute only limited time and resources to politics. Through theoretical and empirical analysis, the author explores when and how reference groups shape political behavior, attitudes, opinions, participation and information acquisition strategies. He argues that citizens utilize information from their group identifications and their group's standing in the political world to help them answer such questions as: Whom to prefer in an election? How politically competent does one assume oneself to be? One should participate in the political process or not? Contents: Prior Research and the Interdependence Concept; Group Identification and Political Context; Explanations of Group Economic Outcomes; Group Efficacy; Information Acquisition; Reference Groups and Democratic Government.