Interest groups as multi-venue players

Abstract

Whereas some recent studies underline interest groups’ strategy to specialize in certain venues when lobbying, we investigate under which conditions groups develop a multi-venue strategy. This study examines and compares groups’ advocacy activities during three issues that were each debated in California and Switzerland. Empirical evidence shows that the policy issue at stake influences the diversity of groups that mobilize to influence an issue, while institutional factors and group types are key to explain the level of multi-venue advocacy. Multi-venue groups are proportionally more numerous in the Swiss neo-corporatist system than in the Californian pluralist system. And citizen groups are more frequently multi-venue players than business groups, regardless of the policy sector or the political system. These findings demonstrate the added value of a research design encompassing advocacy activities in all venues visited during a policy process and, furthermore, comparing these advocacy activities across political systems and policy domains.

This is a preview of subscription content, access via your institution.

Fig. 1
Fig. 2
Fig. 3

Notes

  1. 1.

    Pearson’s Chi-square tests were performed to explore the association between the number of business and citizen groups with political systems (three tests) and issues (four tests). Only one of the three pairwise tests performed to investigate the association between the number of business and citizen groups and the political system suggest a significant association (p < 0.05). In contrast, the four pairwise tests for issues indicate a significant association (p < 0.05).

  2. 2.

    Pearson’s chi-square tests were performed to explore the association between the number of multi-venue players with political systems (three tests) and issues (four tests). The three pairwise tests for political systems suggest a significant association with the number of multi-venue groups (p < 0.05). In contrast, the association between issues and multi-venue players is significant (p < 0.05) only in California (i.e., two of the four pairwise tests).

  3. 3.

    Note that due to data collection constraints we are not able to measure advocacy success or failure for all groups in all venues. This variable is thus available for 821 of 1088 groups (75%). After dichotomizing preference attainment with 0.5 as a threshold, 84% of the groups emerge as ‘winners’ and 16% as ‘losers’ in their first mobilization.

  4. 4.

    Predicted probabilities with 95% confidence intervals calculated on the basis of Model 4 (Table 2) for ‘Business’ (Group type), ‘Electricity’ (Issue) and absence of previous failure.

  5. 5.

    Predicted probabilities with 95% confidence intervals calculated on the basis of Model 4 (Table 2) for ‘Electricity’ (Issue) and the absence of previous failure.

  6. 6.

    German: Basler Appell gegen Gentechnologie. A citizen group focusing on the potentially negative effects of genetic engineering for human beings.

  7. 7.

    French: Association transports et environnement (ATE). A citizen group focusing on the transportation-environment nexus.

References

  1. Baroni, L., B.J. Caroll, A.W. Chalmers, L.M. Muñoz Marquez, and A. Rasmussen. 2014. Defining and Classifying Interest Groups. Interest Groups and Advocacy 3(2): 141–159.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  2. Baumgartner, F.R. 2007. EU Lobbying: A View from the US. Journal of European Public Policy 14(3): 482–488.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  3. Baumgartner, F.R., and B.L. Leech. 2001. Issue Niches and Policy Bandwagons: Patterns of Interest Group Involvement in National Politics. Journal of Politics 63(4): 1191–1213.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  4. Baumgartner, F.R., and B.L. Leech. 1998. Basic Interests: The Importance of Groups in Politics and in Political Science. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  5. Baumgartner, F., et al. 2009. Lobbying and Policy Change: Who Wins, Who Loses, and Why. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  6. Bernhagen, P., A. Duer, and D. Marshall. 2014. Measuring Lobbying Success Spatially. Interest Groups and Advocacy 3: 202–218.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  7. Beyers, J. 2008. Policy Issues, Organisational Format and the Political Strategies of Interest Organisations. West European Politics 31(6): 1188–1211.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  8. Beyers, J., and B. Kerremans. 2012. Domestic Embeddedness and the Dynamics of Mutlilevel Venue Shopping in Four EU Members States. Governance 25(2): 263–290.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  9. Binderkrantz, A.S., P.M. Christiansen, and H.H. Pedersen. 2015. Interest Group Access to the Bureaucracy, Parliament, and the Media. Governance 28(1): 95–112.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  10. Binderkrantz, A.S., and P.M. Christiansen. 2015. From Classic to Modern Corporatism. Interest Group Representation in Danish Public Committees in 1975 and 2010. Journal of European Public Policy 22(7): 1022–1039.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  11. Binderkrantz, A.S., H.H. Pedersen, and J. Beyers. 2017. What is Access? A Discussion of the Definition and Measurement of Interest Group Access. European Political Science 16(3): 306–321.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  12. Boehmke, F.J. 2005. Sources of Variation in the Frequency of Statewide Initiatives: The Role of Interest Group Population. Political Research Quarterly 58(4): 565–575.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  13. Boehmke, F.J., S. Gaillmard, and J.W. Patty. 2013. Business as Usual: Interest Groups Access and Representation across Policy-Making Venues. Journal of Public Policy 33(1): 3–33.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  14. Bolleyer, N., and F. Weiler. 2018. Why Group are Politically Active: An Incentive-Theoretical Approach. Comparative Political Studies. https://doi.org/10.1177/0010414018758758.

    Google Scholar 

  15. Box-Steffensmeier, J.M., D.P. Christenson, and M.P. Hitt. 2013. Quality Over Quantity. Amici Influence and Judicial Decision Making. American Political Science Review 107(3): 446–460.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  16. Buffardi, A.L., R.J. Pekkanen, and S. Rathgeb Smith. 2014. Shopping or Specialization? Venue Targeting Among Nonprofits Engaged in Advocacy. Policy Studies Journal 43: 188–206.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  17. Christiansen, P.M., A. Mach, and F. Varone. 2018. How Corporatist Institutions Shape the Access of Citizen Groups to Policy Makers: Evidence from Denmark and Switzerland. Journal of European Public Policy 25(4): 526–545.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  18. Coen, D., and A. Katsaitis. 2013. Chameleon Pluralism in the EU: An Empirical Study of the European Commission Interest Group Density and Diversity Across Policy Domains. Journal of European Public Policy 20(8): 1104–1119.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  19. Constantelos, J. 2018. Lobbying Across the USA: From State Vetoes to Federal Venues. Interest Groups and Advocacy 17(1): 19–40.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  20. Culpepper, P.D. 2011. Quiet Politics and Business Power: Corporate Control in Europe and Japan. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  21. Dür, A., and G. Mateo. 2013. Gaining Access or Going Public? Interest Group Strategies in Five European Countries. European Journal of Political Research 52(5): 660–686.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  22. Dür, A., P. Bernhagen, and D. Marshall. 2015. Interest Group Success in the European Union: When (and Why) Does Business Lose? Comparative Political Studies 48(8): 951–983.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  23. Dür, A., and D. de Bievre. 2007. Introduction: The Analysis of Interest Groups Influence on Policymaking in Europe and The United States. Journal of European Public Policy 27(1): 1–12.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  24. Fraussen, B. 2012. Interest Group Politics: Change and Continuity. European Integration 34(5): 523–529.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  25. Fraussen, B., J. Beyers, and T. Donas. 2015. The Expanding Core and Varying Degrees of Insiderness: Institutionalized Interest Group Involvement Through Advisory Councils. Political Studies 63(3): 569–588.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  26. Galanter, M. 1974. Why the ‘Haves’ Come Out Ahead: Speculations on the Limits of Legal Change. Law and Society Review 9: 95–106.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  27. Gerber, E.R., A. Lupia, M.D. McCubbins, and D.R. Kiewiet. 2001. Stealing the Initiative. How State Government Responds to Direct Democracy. Upper Saddle River, NJ: Prentice-Hall.

    Google Scholar 

  28. Gray, V., and D. Lowery. 1996. The Population Ecology of Interest Representation: Lobbying Communities in the American States. Ann Arbor, MI: University of Michigan Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  29. Grossmann, M. 2012. The Not-So-Special Interests. Stanford, CA: Stanford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  30. Halpin, D., and A. Binderkrantz. 2011. Explaining Breadth of Policy Engagement: Patterns of Interest Group Mobilization in Public Policy. Journal of European Public Policy 18(2): 201–219.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  31. Halpin, D., D. Lowery, and V. Gray (eds.). 2015. The Organization Ecology of Interest Communities. Basingstoke: Palgrave Macmillan.

    Google Scholar 

  32. Halpin, D. 2014. The Organization of Political Interest Groups. Designing Advocacy. London: Routledge.

    Google Scholar 

  33. Hansford, T.G. 2004. Lobbying Strategies, Venue Selection, and Organized Interest Involvement at the U.S. Supreme Court. American Politics Research 32(2): 170–197.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  34. Holyoke, T.T. 2003. Choosing Battlegrounds: Interest Groups Lobbying Across Multiple Venues. Political Research Quarterly 56(3): 325–336.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  35. Hojnacki, M., D.C. Kimball, F.R. Baumgartner, J.M. Berry, and B.L. Leech. 2012. Studying Organizational Advocacy and Influence: Reexamining Interest Group Research. Annual Review of Political Science 15(9): 1–12.

    Google Scholar 

  36. Jones, B., and F. Baumgartner. 2005. The Politics of Attention: How Government Prioritizes Problems. Chicago: Chicago University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  37. Jourdain, C., S. Hug, and F. Varone. 2017. Lobbying Across Venues: An Issue-Tracing Approach. State Politics and Policy Quarterly 17(2): 127–153.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  38. Katzenstein, P.J. 1985. Small States in World Markets. Ithaca: Cornell University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  39. Kollman, K. 1998. Outside Lobbying: Public Opinion and Interest Group Strategies. Princeton: Princeton University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  40. Kriesi, H., A. Tresh, and M. Jochum. 2007. Going Public in the European Union. Action Repertoires of Western European Collective Political Actors. Comparative Political Studies 40(1): 48–73.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  41. Ley, A.J., and E.P. Weber. 2015. The Adaptive Venue Shopping Framework: How Emergent Groups Choose Environmental Policymaking Venues. Environmental Politics 24(5): 703–722.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  42. Lijphart, A. 1999. Patterns of Democracy. New Haven, CT: Yale University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  43. Lowery, D., and V. Gray. 1995. The Population Ecology of Gucci Gulch, or the Natural Regulation of Interest Groups Numbers in the American States. American Journal of Political Science 39(1): 1–29.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  44. Lowery, D., and V. Gray. 2004. Bias in the Heavenly Chorus: Interests in Society and Before Government. Journal of Theoretical Politics 16(1): 5–30.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  45. Lowery, D., et al. 2008. Comparative and Normative Perspectives. The European Union Interest System in Comparative Perspective: A Bridge Too Far? West European Politics 31(6): 1231–1252.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  46. Lowery, D., and V. Gray. 2010. The comparative advantage of state interest organization research. In The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups, ed. L.S. Maisel and J.M. Berry, 485–501. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  47. Lowery, D., et al. 2015. Images of an Unbiased Interest System. Journal of European Public Policy 22(8): 1212–1231.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  48. Lowi, T.A. 1972. Four Systems of Policy, Politics and Choice. Public Administration Review 32: 298–310.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  49. McKay, A.M. 2012. Buying Policy? The Effects of Lobbyists’ Resources on Their Policy Success. Political Research Quarterly 65(4): 908–923.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  50. Mahoney, C., and F.R. Baumgartner. 2008. Converging Perspectives on Interest Groups Research in Europe and America. West European Politics 31(6): 1253–1273.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  51. Miller, K.P. 2009. Direct Democracy and the Courts. New York: Cambridge University Press.

    Book  Google Scholar 

  52. Olson, M. 1965. The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups. Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  53. Pedersen, H.H., A.S. Binderkrantz, and P.M. Christiansen. 2014. Lobbying Across Arenas: Interest Group Involvement in the Legislative Process in Denmark. Legislative Studies Quarterly 39(2): 199–225.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  54. Pralle, S.B. 2006. Branching Out, Digging in: Environmental Advocacy and Agenda Setting. Washington: Georgetown University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  55. Rasmussen, A., and B.J. Carroll. 2014. Determinants of Upper-Class Dominance in the Heavenly Chorus: Lessons from European Union Online Consultations. British Journal of Political Science 44(2): 445–459.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  56. Schlozman, K. 2010. Who sings in the heavenly chorus? The shape of the organized interest system. In The Oxford Handbook of American Political Parties and Interest Groups, ed. L.S. Maisel, J.M. Berry, and G.C. Edwards, 425–450. Oxford: Oxford University Press.

    Google Scholar 

  57. Seawright, J., and J. Gerring. 2008. Case Selection Techniques in Case Study Research: A Menu of Qualitative and Quantitative Options. Political Research Quarterly 61(2): 294–308.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  58. Solberg, R.S., and E.N. Waltenburg. 2006. Why Do Interest Groups Engage the Judiciary? Policy Wishes and Structural Needs. Social Science Quarterly 87: 558–572.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  59. Vanhala, L. 2009. Anti-Discrimination Policy Actors and Their Use of Litigation Strategies: The Influence of Identity Politics. Journal of European Public Policy 16(5): 738–754.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  60. Varone, F., K. Ingold, and C. Jourdain. 2017. Defending the Status Quo Across Venues and Coalitions: Evidence from California Interest Groups. Journal of Public Policy 37(1): 1–26.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  61. Weiler, F., and M. Brändli. 2015. Inside Versus Outside Lobbying: How the Institutional Framework Shapes the Lobbying Behaviour of Interest Groups. European Journal of Political Research 54(4): 745–766.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  62. Weiler, F., Eichenberger, S., Mach, A., and Varone, F. 2018. Access Bias? Assessing Interest Groups’ Representation Across Decision-Making Venues (unpublished manuscript).

  63. Woll, C. 2012. The Brash and the Soft-Spoken: Lobbying Styles in a Transatlantic Comparison. Interest Groups and Advocacy 1(2): 193–214.

    Article  Google Scholar 

  64. Yackee, S. 2010. The Politics of Ex Parte Lobbying: Pre-proposal Agenda Building and Blocking During Agency Rulemaking. Journal of Public Administration Research and Theory 22: 373–393.

    Article  Google Scholar 

Download references

Acknowledgements

The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (funding of project 100017_149689).

Author information

Affiliations

Authors

Corresponding author

Correspondence to Frédéric Varone.

Electronic supplementary material

Below is the link to the electronic supplementary material.

Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 51 kb)

Rights and permissions

Reprints and Permissions

About this article

Verify currency and authenticity via CrossMark

Cite this article

Varone, F., Gava, R., Jourdain, C. et al. Interest groups as multi-venue players. Int Groups Adv 7, 173–195 (2018). https://doi.org/10.1057/s41309-018-0036-2

Download citation

Keywords

  • Business groups
  • Citizen groups
  • Policy process
  • Institutional venues
  • California
  • Switzerland