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.
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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).
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).
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.
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.
Predicted probabilities with 95% confidence intervals calculated on the basis of Model 4 (Table 2) for ‘Electricity’ (Issue) and the absence of previous failure.
German: Basler Appell gegen Gentechnologie. A citizen group focusing on the potentially negative effects of genetic engineering for human beings.
French: Association transports et environnement (ATE). A citizen group focusing on the transportation-environment nexus.
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The authors acknowledge the financial support of the Swiss National Science Foundation (funding of project 100017_149689).
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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
- Business groups
- Citizen groups
- Policy process
- Institutional venues