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One of the main reasons why scholars study interest groups is their relationship to influence and power, more precisely how organized interests affect policy agendas, the policymaking process, and public policy. Influence is central, indeed one of the most central concepts, in the interest group research field, but it is also highly elusive, which makes it a demanding research topic. It is best conceived as a latent variable, and most analysts will agree that it cannot be directly observed. While different operational definitions have been proposed for access (e.g., measuring membership of advisory committees or invitations to parliamentary hearings) and strategies (e.g., mapping the use of insider and outsider tactics, in particular advocacy campaigns), we lack a straightforward definition or operationalization of “influence.” Instead, empirically influence needs to be approximated through a triangulation of various directly measured variables, such as group resources,...
KeywordsInfluence Power Access Interest groups Strategies Public policy
In writing this chapter I benefited from a research grant of the European Research Council (ERC-2013-CoG 616702-iBias). I also would like to acknowledge David Lowery, Evelien Willems, Bas Redert, Sharon Belli, and Anne Binderkrantz for their helpful comments.
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