Balancing constituency and congruence: How constituency involvement affects positional congruence between organized interests and the general public

Evelien Willems*, Iskander De Bruycker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article asks to what extent and under which conditions interest groups are congruent with public opinion. We argue that interest groups can be caught in a balancing act between engaging with their constituency on the one hand and aligning their position with the broader public on the other hand. We contribute to previous studies by arguing that the effect of interest group type on congruence is moderated by the degree to which constituencies are involved in advocacy processes and the salience of policy issues. We test these expectations by analyzing 314 media claims made by Belgian interest groups regarding 58 policy issues. The results demonstrate that citizen groups with formal members are more prone to share the position of the broader public compared to concentrated interest groups such as business associations, especially if they involve their members in advocacy activities and when issues are salient in the media.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)107-126
Number of pages20
JournalGovernance: an international journal of policy, administration, and institutions
Issue number1
Early online date26 Dec 2019
Publication statusPublished - Jan 2021

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