What is the Primary Goal of Interest Groups

Research on interest group influence has had a revival in recent decades (e.g. Baumgartner
et al.
2009; Bunea
2013; Dür
et al.
2015; Junk
2019; Klüver
2011), but little is known about interest group influence on political parties and their positions. Given the crucial role that parties have when information technology comes to legislating and governing (Dalton
et al.

2011), involvement groups that aim to influence public policy might detect them important targets. Examining when interest groups are able to influence parties sheds calorie-free on the political impact of groups in the stages before final policy decisions are fabricated.

The party-interest group literature has mainly focussed on their relationships (east.g. Allern and Bale
2017). The few existing studies that systematically examine groups’ influence on parties have focussed on the effects of interest group resources and interest grouping–party relationships (Clifton
2004; Karol
2009; Victor and Reinhardt
2018). A consideration of party characteristics is, nevertheless, missing. Parties have their ain agenda and confront sure constraints and incentives when it comes to using involvement group input. This article considers how the goals parties pursue can affect interest groups’ ability to influence these actors. Influence is here understood as persuading parties to take a position that is (more) in line with the group’due south preferences (Dür
2008). Interest groups, in other words, have to perceive that they have been able to impact a given party’due south determination.

Parties are assumed to desire office, policy and votes (Strøm
1990). Interest groups are on the other hand purer policy maximisers and specialists just do non compete in elections (Hansen
1991). This leaves room for potentially mutually beneficial exchanges between the two actors. In exchange for political influence, interest groups tin can provide information to parties that tin can help them achieve their goals. As all parties are causeless to be policy seekers to some extent, I presume that information from ideologically similar groups is more than interesting to parties. This type of information likely helps parties in their pursuits without them potentially incurring substantial costs. Interest groups might furthermore be more likely to focus their efforts on such ‘allies’ which tin can make them more than likely to succeed in wielding influence.

The goals that parties pursue might conflict with each other, however, and how parties choose to prioritise their goals can affect their propensity to use involvement group input. More than specifically, primarily policy-seeking parties that are relatively unwilling to make policy compromises are expected to be less responsive to interest groups. These parties are assumed to place a higher premium on their positions, which can brand it harder for the average interest group to wield influence. Primarily office- or vote-seeking parties on the other hand are assumed to have fewer policy constraints on what they consider equally useful input and to be interested in catering to a broader grouping of voters. This means that the pool of involvement groups these parties are interested in listening to is likely larger. Interest groups, realising this, might also put more effort into influencing parties that are more willing to compromise on policy.

I test these expectations on 5000 political party–interest grouping observations from Denmark, France, Deutschland, holland, Kingdom of norway and the United kingdom. The hypotheses are supported. Interest groups that are ideologically closer to a political party are generally more likely to be influential. Interest groups are in addition establish to be more than likely to influence parties that are more willing to compromise on policy. I moreover examine whether these effects are mediated through the
that interest groups take to parties, and notice that this largely seems to be the case.

In addition to contributing to the party-interest group literature, the article’s findings add to the interest group influence literature at large. The theoretical focus hither has mainly been on issue and involvement group characteristics (Hojnacki
et al.

2012). A smaller issue scope, less conflict, less salience and involvement grouping positions that are aligned with public opinion tend to be associated with more group influence (Hojnacki
et al.

2012; Mahoney
2007; Rasmussen et al.
2018). Equally these aspects broadly business how much attention an issue gets in the public heart, they might be peculiarly of import to consider for decision makers who can be held electorally answerable. Research on interest group characteristics supports this. Citizen groups, which tend to promote more diffuse public interests, are generally more likely than business groups to influence EU policy outcomes that involve the directly elected European Parliament (Dür
et al.

2015). Business organisation groups are, on the other hand, more likely to influence
rule making (Yackee and Yackee
2006). The priorities of elected actors may, in other words, differ from non-elected ones. This article also considers that actors of the
same type
may differ likewise. I unpack how differences in the motivations of elected actors (political parties) can vary and how this tin can impact groups’ ability to wield influence.

My findings furthermore requite a more complete picture of the political processes that lead to public policy outcomes. Understanding what leads parties to take certain positions is important in society to understand how public policy is made. While parties are known to adjust their agendas in response to involvement group mobilisation (Klüver
2020; Otjes and Light-green-Pedersen
2019), studies that aim to explain party positions have paid fiddling attention to the potential bear on of interest groups (Adams
2012). This article hence contributes to the literature on party positions by shedding light on the kinds of parties that interest groups are more than likely to influence.

Agreement how parties arrive at their positions is also important given their roles as intermediaries betwixt citizens and the country. Substantive representation, that citizens’ preferences are reflected by policy makers, to a certain degree hinges on parties. Depending on who their constituents are, the data interest groups provide can reflect broader, public or narrower, sectional interests. Involvement groups can therefore strengthen or weaken the link between citizens and the parties that take their input into account (Giger and Klüver
2016; Lax and Phillips
2012). Knowing which parties involvement groups are more than likely to affect is pertinent in order to exist able to guess when the link between voters and parties is likely to be affected.


Political parties are considered to have iii main goals: policy, office, and votes. Office seeking entails a wish to gain function benefits, while policy seeking is understood as a desire to influence public policy. Votes are mainly a means to these two ends (Strøm and Müller
1999). Involvement groups, defined equally non-governmental, formal associations that attempt to influence policy outcomes simply do non compete in elections (Beyers
et al.

2008), are in comparison purer policy maximisers. They generally focus on a narrower range of policy issues and tend to be more specialised than parties (Hansen

Given parties’ role in legislatures and governments, they can be important targets for involvement groups. This is supported by the literature on the contemporary ties between interest groups and parties. Parties are found to have ties to a relatively broad range of interest groups (Allern and Bale
2017; Otjes and Rasmussen
2017; Rasmussen and Lindeboom
2013). Groups are as well known to anteroom party manifestos and government coalition agreements (Däubler
2012; Dolezal
et al.

2012; Romeijn
2021). In exchange for political influence, interest groups tin provide parties with resource that assist them in achieving their goals.

Ane important resource is information (Bouwen
2002). Parties have incomplete data about the consequences of different policy alternatives, both in terms of how they might bear upon sure segments of the population too as how they might affect their electoral back up (Austen-Smith
1993). Interest groups tin can provide expertise, such every bit information about the potential impact of a policy proposal, and political information concerning e.1000. a proposal’south back up among a sure constituency (De Bruycker
2016b). Given interest groups’ higher degree of specialisation, the information they provide can help a party navigate what position to accept. Using involvement group input might also improve the party’s entreatment to the group’s constituency and potentially assistance the political party attract these voters.

When involvement groups try to influence parties’ positions and persuade them to motion closer to their ideal points, they nevertheless run across another policy seeker. Parties are also interested in steering public policy in their preferred direction. Data that is consistent with a party’s ideological principles might therefore be more than interesting to the political party. Parties face risks if they have positions that diverge from their ideological principles. Doing this might misfile and repel their core voters, demobilise party activists, and cause internal political party divisions (Adams
2012; Adams
et al.

2006; Budge
1994). Knowing that a group shares similar principles equally the political party might also be useful for parties when information technology comes to trusting their input on specific policy issues (Hall and Deardorff
2006). Using information from ideologically proximate interest groups is therefore causeless to exist less costly, while also potentially improving the party’s arguments and entreatment to the groups’ constituents. Knowing this, interest groups might also be more prone to target these ‘allies’ which tin positively affect their chances of wielding influence (Hojnacki and Kimball
1998; Otjes and Rasmussen

Both from a party and involvement grouping perspective, the first expectation is therefore,

Interest groups are more likely to influence more than ideologically proximate parties.

While parties are causeless to be interested in pursuing office, policy, and votes simultaneously, it can be hard to maximise all at the same fourth dimension every bit the goals can conflict. Parties have to decide what they primarily want to pursue. More policy-seeking parties have been found to be less responsive to changes in the median voter’s position (Adams
et al.

2006; Bischof and Wagner
2020), and the premium a party places on policy seeking might besides bear upon its inclination to use input from the average involvement group.

More specifically, the value parties place on policy purity is causeless to be important. While all parties are likely to want to influence public policy, policy purists are less willing to make policy compromises to gain office benefits or more votes (Pedersen
2012). This blazon of political party is assumed to focus on appealing to and representing the interests of its cadre constituency and non be as interested in catering to voters outside of this group (Berkhout
et al.

2019; Bischof and Wagner
2020). An interest group’south input will hence probable need to exist consequent with the interests of the party’south cadre constituency for the political party to discover it useful. The pool of interest groups whose input these parties are interested in is therefore likely smaller than that of parties with other priorities.

For office- and vote-seeking parties, the policy constraints on what they consider every bit useful input are assumed to be weaker. These parties might exist interested in catering to a broader group of voters compared to policy-seeking parties. For a vote-seeking party, this is a fashion of maximising votes. Maximising votes is besides bonny for office-seeking parties every bit the party’due south size affects its chances of entering office (Martin and Stevenson
2001). In the case of coalition governments, votes are also associated with the allotment of ministerial portfolios, i.e. a political party’s share of role benefits (Warwick and Druckman
2006). Data from a more diverse set of interest groups might assistance parties entreatment to more voters. Potentially incurring the costs of compromising on its principles can exist worth it to a vote- or office-seeking political party to the extent that using the interest group input has a positive impact on its chances of appealing to the group’s constituents.

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It is in other words probable easier for the average interest grouping to influence a party that is more willing to compromise on policy. Interest groups, realising this, might spend more than energy on trying to influence such parties. Interest groups furthermore have an incentive to concentrate their efforts on primarily part- or vote-seeking parties to the extent that they are more likely to have powerful positions in parliament or office (De Bruycker
2016a; Otjes and Rasmussen
2017). This may positively affect their chances of existence successful in their effort.

Both from a party and interest group perspective, the 2d hypothesis is therefore,

Interest groups are more than likely to influence parties that are more willing to compromise on policy.

A mechanism that potentially links ideological proximity and parties’ willingness to compromise on policy to interest group influence is groups’ access to parties. Access, which requires that interest groups seek it and parties grant information technology, is mostly thought of every bit a prerequisite for influence (Binderkrantz
et al.

2017; Truman
1951). Existence in regular touch with a political party likely gives a group more opportunities to vocalism its opinions which can increment its likelihood of getting the party to yield. Whether a group seeks access to a party likely depends on both the group’due south ideological proximity to the party and the party’s willingness to make policy compromises. These 2 aspects might also affect the party’s motivation to grant access. I therefore expect that,

Interest groups are more likely to influence more ideologically proximate parties because they are more than likely to seek and proceeds access to these parties.

Interest groups are more probable to influence parties that are more willing to compromise on policy because they are more likely to seek and gain access to these parties.

Research pattern

In lodge to test these expectations, I use interest group survey data from the Political party–Interest Group Relationships in Contemporary Democracies (PAIRDEM) project supplemented with data from other sources as detailed below. The survey was carried out between 2017 and 2018, with the informants generally being those responsible for their grouping’s governmental affairs or public relations or the director-general (Allern, Hansen
et al.

2020). Interest groups and parties from six established democracies – Denmark, France, Germany, holland, Kingdom of norway, and the United Kingdom – are covered here.

These countries correspond both pluralist (French republic, United kingdom of great britain and northern ireland) and corporatist (Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands, Norway) means of structuring state–involvement group relations (Jahn

Examining involvement groups and parties in these countries makes it possible to examine a multifariousness of parties. Generally, the parties that were represented in parliament when the survey was carried out are included. Both established and newer parties of varying sizes are covered. The parties are moreover relatively potent and cohesive, which can brand influencing parties a more important strategy for involvement groups. In this regard, there is also variation in how closely tied the parties have been and go on to be to specific interest groups (Allern and Bale
2017). Overall, the findings here are likely to apply to a relatively wide range of cohesive parties in established democracies.

Involvement groups are defined equally ‘any non-political party and non-governmental formal association of individuals or organisations that, on the basis of one or more shared concerns, advocates a particular interest/cause in public and commonly attempts to influence public policy in its favour in one fashion or another’ (Allern, Hansen
et al.

2020: 2). The PAIRDEM survey includes one random sample drawn from the identified involvement group population in each country likewise as one purposive sample. The purposive sample includes the ten most of import involvement groups in each state, as identified past the country expert who carried out the survey, in viii categories.

These categories allow for including groups that are concerned with economic as well as postmaterialist issues. Given the heterogeneity of the interest group universe, the purposive sample hence ensures that groups that might exist more than oriented towards issues that business political parties are covered. About 21% of the groups that responded belong to this sample.

The aggregate response rate is 29%, which is similar to that of other interest grouping surveys. There are no substantial biases with regards to the types of groups that take responded (Allern, Hansen
et al.

2020). In sum, a variety of interest groups are function of the overall sample studied hither, including business groups, professional associations, trade unions and public interest groups. Both membership and not-membership organisations are included. Given that the ideological proximity hypothesis requires that interest groups have at least one ideological position, withal, the applicability of the results might not extend to groups that pursue less politicised interests.

Measuring involvement grouping influence

Interest group influence is understood equally a group’s ability to persuade a party to accept a position that is (more) in line with the grouping’s preferences (Dür
2008). I use the following question from the PAIRDEM survey to measure this:

Thinking about when your arrangement has input into decisions made by parliamentary party groups about the top three policy areas you are the well-nigh active in during the current legislative term, how would you lot rate the influence of your organisation on [party]? Note: If the present legislative term has just begun, please refer to the preceding flow. To be considered ‘very influential’, your arrangement’s input must have had a decisive influence on the positions taken past the parliamentary political party.

The interest groups were asked to charge per unit their influence on each of the parties that were currently represented in parliament in the policy areas where they had indicated being the most active earlier in the survey.

The groups could choose up to 3 policy areas. A given interest grouping and party pair can hence occur up to three times in the dataset. Note that information technology was possible to answer ‘not applicable’ for cases where the interest group did non provide any input. These observations are excluded.

1 of the drawbacks of measuring influence in this way is that information technology relies on the memory and cognition of the respondents. The respondents might furthermore take incentives to exaggerate or downplay their influence (Dür
2008). The question is moreover ane-sided in that but the involvement groups are asked to charge per unit their influence. At the same time, the groups might have a better overview of the instances where they successfully wielded influence since they may exist dealing with fewer actors and policy areas compared to the parties.

A drawback with the PAIRDEM question in particular is that it is non decision specific. Information technology is therefore not possible to include issue characteristics in the analysis. The survey is non exclusively concerned with influence, nonetheless, and request respondents virtually influence on specific decisions would have required more questions which could take increased respondent fatigue and lowered response rates. Moreover, compared to previous interest grouping surveys, the PAIRDEM question has the advantage that respondents are asked about their influence on decisions in specific
policy areas
during a given legislative term, as opposed to their influence in general (Pedersen
2013). This also makes it possible to include a policy area control variable.

Given the wording of the question, it might moreover be reasonable to assume that the respondents will consider an aggregate of specific instances where the grouping provided input to a party when answering the question. The specification of what ‘very influential’ means furthermore increases the likelihood that different respondents interpret the question similarly. Overall, the measure likely gives a good offset indication of whether the hypotheses receive empirical support.

The influence measure ranges from 0 to 3. 0 equals not at all influential, ane not very influential, 2 somewhat influential and iii very influential. The mean is 0.99 (see Online appendix 1 for descriptive statistics). The typical group is in other words probable to charge per unit its influence on a given party as weak. There is, however, a relatively big caste of variation. The standard deviation is 0.97.

Given the categorical and ordered nature of the dependent variable, I run ordered logistic regressions. The unit of analysis is political party–interest group pairs. Given the structure of the data, the observations might not be independent. Empty multilevel models indicate that the involvement groups and parties account for nigh of the variance (Online appendix 2). I therefore include random effects at both the interest grouping and political party level. I moreover include country fixed effects to account for potential differences between the countries, also in terms of response rates. Linear mixed effects regressions every bit well as ordered and multinomial logistic regressions with standard errors amassed by interest groups and parties yield similar results (Online appendices 3–5). Multicollinearity is not plant to exist a problem.

Independent variables

The first contained variable is the ideological proximity between a political party and interest grouping. To measure this, I construct a variable based on several PAIRDEM questions also as party positions from the 2014 Chapel Hill Proficient Survey (CHES) (Polk
et al.

2017). The PAIRDEM respondents were asked to indicate their positions on six different scales that are identical to the ones used in CHES (see Online appendix 6 for the diction of each question). Three of the scales encompass economic bug (improving public services versus reducing taxes, redistribution, and land intervention in the economy) and three encompass postmaterialist bug (social lifestyle, immigration, and the environs). The questionnaire included a visual representation of where the parties in the group’due south country were located on each scale. The PAIRDEM and CHES data in other words allow for a relatively precise comparing of the ideological positions of a given group and party both when information technology comes to more traditional, left–right issues as well as newer, ‘GAL–TAN’ issues.

I calculate the boilerplate proximity between a given political party and interest group on the dimensions where the group has indicated its position. The resulting mensurate hence includes the party–involvement group proximity on at least i and up to half dozen dimensions. The variable ranges from 0 to 10, with a hateful of vii.three and a standard deviation of 1.66. Higher values signal greater proximity. Note that the political party positions precede the interest group positions in time, which eliminates the trouble that a political party’s ideology might be shut to a given group because the group has influenced the party.

The 2nd independent variable is the priority parties give to policy purity, understood as a greater unwillingness to make policy compromises. I rely on party behaviour to mensurate this and consider authorities participation besides as the policy distance between a party and its almost dissimilar government coalition partner. Every bit discussed beneath, these aspects tap into a party’s willingness to brand policy compromises.

Most of the parties included in this study have to join a coalition or form a unmarried-party minority government if they want to access office benefits. These two options by and large involve policy compromises (Martin and Vanberg
2014; Strøm
1990). Discussions of party goals in the existing literature furthermore support using government participation as a proxy. Being in office for the Danish, Dutch, German and Norwegian parties has typically meant existence part of a coalition and this has involved policy compromises (Allern
2010; Allern and Karlsen
2014; Faas
2015; Kosiara-Pedersen
2020; Pulzer
2003; van Holsteyn
2018). The parties that have not been in office have generally deliberately chosen to stay out, partly because of the policy compromises that would be required. A different logic applies to the parties in the United kingdom and French republic. The parties that have been in function hither, however, are by and large argued to pursue function and/or votes rather than policy purity (Samuels
2002; Quinn
2010). The parties that have non been in office are considered to exist more concerned with policy (Laver and Hunt
1992; McAngus
2016). There is hence too broadly support for using government participation equally a proxy in these cases. Online appendix vii includes a more than thorough discussion of each political party.

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I take regime participation between 2000 and 2016 into account in social club to include several elections and potential changes in government. This increases the chances that those who have wanted to govern have had a chance to practice and so. I consider the number of days a party has been in office during this fourth dimension menses to distinguish betwixt parties that have governed for longer periods of time and those that east.g. have had a curt spell in office and ended upwardly withdrawing considering they plant the costs of governing to be besides high.

In addition to government participation and like to Warwick’due south (2006) policy horizons mensurate, I consider the policy distance between a given political party and its nigh unlike coalition partner. Coalition partners with fairly similar ideological positions might have to compromise less than more different partners. This also accounts for the possibility that those who govern alone might not have to compromise as much as those who govern with other parties. The policy distance therefore gets at the parties’ ‘limits of policy compromise’ (Warwick
2006: 41). A party that has governed with a more than ideologically different coalition partner is idea to be more than willing to make policy compromises.

The policy distance betwixt a party and its near dissimilar coalition partner betwixt 2000 and 2016 is calculated using the full general left–right positions from CHES betwixt 1999 and 2014 (Bakker
et al.

2015; Polk
et al.

2017). The position of a given party’s nearly different partner is subtracted from the party’s position. If a party has participated in several coalition governments, the average altitude is used. Parties that govern alone are given a score of 0.

I normalise the days a party has been in office and the policy distance betwixt the political party and its well-nigh unlike coalition partner to range betwixt 0 and 1 and add the 2 variables together. The resulting measure ranges from 0 to 2, with a mean of 0.69 and a standard divergence of 0.54. A score of 0 equals parties that accept not been in authorities and are hence considered to exist less willing to compromise on policy (e.k. the Danish People’s Party). Higher values point a greater willingness to compromise. The political party has been in office for a longer period of time and potentially governed with parties that are more than ideologically different (e.grand. the High german Social Democratic Party).

Notation that a political party’southward willingness to compromise on policy is distinct from how moderate its positions are. Moderate (farthermost) parties might have to take a more farthermost (moderate) position than they would have preferred when they are in function considering of e.k. other parties’ preferences or public opinion. Parties that desire to preserve a ‘pure’ policy profile might hence be deterred from entering office.

There are some potential concerns with this mensurate. First, it does not account for pariah parties that might exist office seeking but unable to take part in a coalition considering it its ostracised by established parties (Downs
2001). Two parties in this sample, Front end National and the German Left, are considered to exist ostracised (Akkerman and Rooduijn
2015; Bräuninger
et al.

2019; van Spanje and de Graaf
2018). The results are, nevertheless, similar when I control for pariah party status (Online appendix eight).

2d, the results might exist driven past the parties that were in government during the term that the influence question concerns or past the parties that have more parliamentary seats. These two aspects tap into the ability that parties possess. Involvement groups might target government parties or larger parties more than (De Bruycker
2016a; Otjes and Rasmussen
2017), which can affect their ability to wield influence. Regime parties, however, may be harder to influence since making promises that turn out to be empty can be more consequential for these parties (van Spanje
2010). The results are over again similar when I command for these two aspects (Online appendix 8).

As an additional robustness cheque I lawmaking a variable based on the aforementioned literature review (Online appendix 7) that distinguishes between parties that are not willing, somewhat willing, and willing to compromise on policy. This variable is strongly correlated with the willingness to compromise measure out (r = 0.73,
p-value < 0.01) and the results are robust (Online appendix 9).

In order to examine whether the effects of ideological proximity and parties’ willingness to make policy compromises are mediated through interest groups’ access to parties, I use Imai
et al.’s
(2011) causal mediation framework. I include country fixed furnishings and cluster the standard errors on interest groups and parties. Access is measured using a question from the PAIRDEM survey where the respondents were asked whether they ‘usually talk to [political party] when trying to give input into the decision-making process on a major issue within the acme three policy areas you are most active.’ The response alternatives were yep/no.

While the dichotomous nature of the variable makes information technology somewhat crude, the measure is political party- and policy area specific which chiefly makes information technology possible to know whether interest groups tend to talk to a
given party in a given policy surface area, alike to the influence question. Talking to a party requires that the group is seeking contact and that the party is willing to grant this. This makes it a useful first test of a possible access machinery. Around 28% of the observations have this kind of contact.

Control variables

I control for a political party’south caste of intra-political party democracy – how involved members and activists are in decision making – since this can affect both how parties prioritise their goals and involvement group influence. First, political party leaders have (the prospect of) access to role benefits and are assumed to be motivated to pursue function. These benefits are inaccessible to the average fellow member and activist who instead are assumed to be motivated by policy. When these actors are given more of a say, the party might therefore prioritise policy (May
1973; Strøm
1990). This might brand the party less prone to use involvement group input. Some accept, however, argued that members and activists are not exclusively motivated by policy (Kitschelt
1994; Norris
1995), which ways that this might not constitute such a hurdle for interest groups. 2nd, the number of actors involved in decision making is higher in internally democratic parties (Bäck
2008; Schumacher et al.
2013). This can brand it harder for involvement groups to wield influence since their input has to be palatable to more actors. At the aforementioned time, members and activists constitute boosted entry points. If a grouping has difficulties in accessing the leadership, it might find sympathetic ears among these actors. Overall this means that intra-party democracy might affect interest group influence on parties but whether it mainly facilitates or hampers it is unclear.

In club to measure intra-party democracy, I utilize skilful survey data from Rohrschneider and Whitefield (2012) that concern the part of the political party leadership and members in determining party policy.

Higher values indicate more than membership involvement. This constitutes the well-nigh upwardly-to-date data with the best coverage of the parties examined hither. Norwegian parties are, yet, not covered. For these, I use similar data from Laver and Hunt’s (1992) expert survey. The results are also robust to the exclusion of the Norwegian parties.

To what extent parties take niche profiles might similarly both affect parties’ goal priorities and interest group influence. Niche parties focus on a small number of non-economical issues that other parties by and large ignore (Bischof
2017). These parties might prioritise policy which can decrease the likelihood of interest group influence. I use Bischof’southward (2017) procedure to calculate party nicheness. Using MARPOR data from the two latest elections preceding the PAIRDEM survey (Volkens
2020), the variable measures the accent a party puts on five not-economic bug compared to the other parties in the same system. The more a party is alone in emphasising few of these issues, the more than niche the party is.

I furthermore control for variables that accept the involvement group side of the money into account. The showtime is the importance interest groups ascribe to political parties when they participate in public policy processes. Interest groups that view parties as more important may put more effort into pursuing parties (Rasmussen and Lindeboom
2013), which might positively affect their chances of wielding influence. I use two questions from the PAIRDEM survey to mensurate this, namely how important groups find fundamental party organisations and parliamentary party groups.

The variables range from 0 to three, where 0 equals not important at all and three very important. I use the boilerplate importance ascribed to the two faces of parties.

The second interest group control relates to the resource they have, namely whether a grouping employs people that deal with monitoring and commenting on public policy for at least half of their working time. This is again a question from the PAIRDEM survey. I distinguish between groups that employ zip such employees and groups that employ at least one.

This taps into the capacity involvement groups have to influence determination makers, including parties, as well as their ability to provide information that these decision makers might discover useful (Mahoney
2007). Being resourceful in this way might positively affect a grouping’s chances of influencing a party. The results are robust if a group’s almanac budget is used to measure involvement group resources instead.

I furthermore control for interest grouping blazon. This to some extent captures the blazon of data that unlike groups supply. While all groups are likely to provide information on public preferences, citizen groups are institute to do and then more oftentimes than others (Flöthe
2020). They furthermore tend to exist more aligned with public opinion compared to business organisation groups (Flöthe and Rasmussen
2019). This type of information might be particularly pertinent to parties and may increment citizen groups’ likelihood of being influential. Following Rasmussen
et al.
(2018), I distinguish between special interest groups (business, occupational, labour, and institutional groups – coded as 0) and citizen groups that represent more diffuse interests (public interest and identity groups – coded every bit ane).

Lastly, I include a command for the policy surface area a group tries to wield influence in. I distinguish betwixt (re-)distributive (coded equally 0) and regulatory (coded equally one) policy areas. The caste of conflict and salience that are generally associated with these areas can differ which might affect groups’ power to wield influence (Dür and de Bièvre
2007). The classification is based on Broscheid and Coen (2007). The results are similar when using a variable that also distinguishes between redistributive and distributive policy areas.


shows the regression results. The first hypothesis is supported. Involvement groups are generally more than probable to influence parties that they are ideologically closer to (Model ane). This besides holds when the control variables and parties’ willingness to compromise on policy are included (Model iv). Figure 1 shows the predicted probabilities. Based on Model 4, the predicted probability of being somewhat influential is 0.09 when ideological proximity is relatively low (v.63). This increases to 0.28 for dyads that are close to the mean proximity value, and to 0.54 when proximity is very loftier (10). In that location is a similar albeit weaker increase for being very influential: from 0.01 when ideological proximity is lower to 0.09 when it is very high. This indicates that parties might discover information from ideologically proximate groups more useful in terms of improving arguments and appealing to the groups’ constituents while as well being associated with fewer potential costs. Interest groups might moreover pursue such allies to a greater extent.

Table 1.

The consequence of ideological proximity and willingness to compromise on policy on interest group influence.

The second hypothesis is also supported. Effigy two shows the relationship between parties’ willingness to compromise on policy and the share of groups that have indicated being somewhat and very able to influence each political party. Groups are more often than not more likely to perceive that they accept influenced parties that are more willing to compromise on policy. This is supported by the regression results (Model 2), also after decision-making for e.g. intra-party republic and party nicheness (Model iii).

Figure two.

Parties’ willingness to compromise on policy and share of interest groups that perceive to have been somewhat and very influential.

Figure 3 shows the predicted probabilities of being influential given parties’ willingness to compromise on policy, based on Model iii. The predicted probability of being somewhat able to influence the most compromise-averse parties is effectually 0.20, whereas it is 0.31 for those that are closer to the middle with a willingness score of 1.05, and 0.38 for those that are the nearly willing to compromise on policy. There is besides a slight positive increase in the predicted probability of existence very influential equally parties are more willing to brand policy compromises.

Figure 3.

Predicted probability of being somewhat and very influential by parties’ willingness to compromise on policy (Model iii). 95% confidence intervals.

These findings imply that parties that are more willing to compromise might find that the benefits of using involvement group input – such equally appealing to the groups’ constituents – exceed the costs of eastward.g. slightly veering from the political party’s policy goals. Realising this, involvement groups might also spend more free energy on trying to influence these parties. The pool of involvement groups whose input these parties are likely to be interested in is furthermore plant to exist larger. 48% of the interest groups are ideologically close (defined as scoring at to the lowest degree eight on the ideological proximity measure) to the parties that are more willing to compromise (defined equally scoring at to the lowest degree 1 on the willingness measure). In comparison, only 29% of the interest groups are ideologically close to the parties that are relatively unwilling to compromise (divers as scoring less than 0.five on the willingness measure). That is, a majority of groups are unlikely to exist able to provide information that is of involvement to more compromise-averse parties. In general, the costs of using group input for these parties may therefore exceed the benefits.

shows the results for the access machinery.

The effect of ideological proximity on influence seems to be mediated to some extent through whether or not a group usually talks to a party. H3a hence receives support. Ideological proximity is here held constant at 7, i.e. relatively close, and the same controls from Model four () are included. The full upshot of ideological proximity on existence somewhat influential is estimated to be 0.21, and of this 0.09 (43%) is estimated to be mediated through access. Similar results are found for being very influential. The results are stronger when it comes to the effect of parties’ willingness to compromise on policy, where I command for the same variables as in Model 3 () and hold willingness constant at 1.vii, i.e. a relatively high willingness to compromise. The total event of being somewhat influential is estimated to be 0.10, and of this 0.08 (80%) is estimated to be mediated through access. The results are once again similar for being very influential. H3b is thus supported.

Table 2.

Estimated indirect and total effects of ideological proximity and willingness to compromise on policy on interest group influence with mediator admission.

Access hence seems to be a relatively important machinery that connects ideological proximity and parties’ willingness to compromise on policy to interest group influence. Parties that are more willing to make policy compromises might exist more willing to grant access to interest groups, and interest groups might to a greater extent seek access to these parties. Having access can increase the opportunities groups have to voice their opinions which in plow might increase their chances of influencing the party. Similarly, involvement groups might generally be more likely to seek and gain access to ideologically similar parties and therefore accept more success in wielding influence.

Every bit for the control variables, intra-party democracy is not found to be significantly associated with interest grouping influence. Interest groups are, on the other paw, generally less probable to influence parties with a more niche profile. Every bit for the interest group controls, groups that attribute more than importance to parties are more often than not institute to be more likely to wield influence, as are groups that employ people who work with policy issues. The findings lend some back up to the idea that denizen groups are more than likely to influence parties than special involvement groups merely the issue is only pregnant in 1 model. Interest groups are furthermore generally more than likely to influence party decisions in mainly (re-)distributive policy areas compared to regulatory policy areas. Lastly, there are no consistent, significant differences between the countries (Online appendix 10). This is in line with other contempo interest group influence studies (Binderkrantz and Rasmussen
2015; Rasmussen
et al.



The few studies that have investigated interest groups’ power to influence parties accept focussed on the furnishings of involvement grouping resources and party involvement group connections (Clifton
2004; Karol
2009; Victor and Reinhardt
2018). Differences between parties in terms of their motivations to use involvement grouping input take not been considered. This commodity takes this aspect into account. I theorise that interest groups are more than probable to wield influence on ideologically proximate parties as well as parties that are more willing to make policy compromises. Examining party–interest grouping observations in six established democracies that vary with regards to country–involvement grouping relations and where parties are generally stiff and cohesive, I find support for these expectations. I moreover find that these effects seem to be mediated through the access that an involvement group has to a party to a relatively large extent.

These results are also of relevance to the general literature on interest group influence. While previous research has indicated that dissimilar political decision makers might have different incentives to listen to interest groups, this article shows that because differences betwixt actors of the
same type
can be pertinent to understand when interest groups are able to wield influence besides. The characteristics of the actors that groups try to touch on tin can exist of import explanatory factors in add-on to event and group characteristics. The results moreover shed further light on how parties arrive at their positions, where the impact of interest groups has been neglected. Taking interest group influence into business relationship tin be peculiarly important when studying the positions of parties that are more willing to compromise on policy.

While parties and interest groups are independent actors, the findings here imply that they are able to engage in mutually beneficial exchanges. This may especially be the case for more than compromise-willing parties that might exist able to rely on a larger interest group ‘appliance’. More compromise-balky parties, on the other hand, seemingly have a more limited pool of relevant interest groups that they can depict on information from. This can potentially reinforce these parties’ tendency to eschew appeals to the median voter. The positions of more compromise-balky parties might to a lesser extent reverberate information provided by interest groups regarding their potential political and technical consequences, unless this information is explicitly relevant to their core constituents.

The results furthermore provide some testify that citizen groups, which are more likely to provide information on public preferences and tend to be more aligned with public opinion (Flöthe
2020; Flöthe and Rasmussen
2019), are more likely to wield influence. This can imply that the involvement group input that tends to exist reflected in party decisions is in line with what the public wants. The voter–party link in other words might on average be somewhat enhanced rather than distorted by interest groups.

Futurity inquiry could effort to incorporate the interest group influence and political party position literatures farther. To what extent are parties’ decisions to apply interest group input for example affected by the actions of other parties? The decisions of other parties might induce or deter a political party from listening to involvement groups in specific instances. Another attribute that calls for attention is whether certain parties are more likely to employ interest group input on certain issues. Does due east.g. issue ownership bear upon parties’ willingness to employ interest group input?

Examining interest group influence on specific bug might also be useful to shed low-cal on when ideological proximity is more and less important. If an issue is salient to the public and a clear public opinion bulk exists, interest groups that are aligned with the public and provide substantive arguments that tin can be used to promote this position might be influential fifty-fifty if they do non share the same ideological principles as a given party. The degree of conflict on an consequence might furthermore be of interest. If all the interest groups active on an outcome take similar stances, parties might be more prone to mind even if the groups are ideologically dissimilar.

The access mechanism could moreover be probed farther, for instance by because the ties that parties and interest groups maintain. Which ties, in terms of institutionalisation (Allern, Otjes
et al.

2020), thing for influence? Lastly, investigating interest grouping influence on parties using other influence measures is relevant in order to establish the robustness of these results. Using for case party manifesto data or media appearances to track party position changes and combining this with PAIRDEM information would permit for a more upshot-specific influence measure and could thus be one way forward.

What is the Primary Goal of Interest Groups

Source: https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/full/10.1080/01402382.2021.1921496