Blessing or Curse for Congruence? How Interest Mobilization Affects Congruence between Citizens and Elected Representatives

I. De Bruycker*, A. Rasmussen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article examines the role of interest mobilization in strengthening or weakening congruence between elected representatives and citizens on EU policy issues. It argues that the relationship between public opinion, interest groups and elected politicians can be theorized as a selective transmission process. We expect interest groups to strengthen congruence between citizens and elected representatives who share their ideological views. To test our hypotheses we conducted a content analysis of statements made in eight European news outlets on a sample of 13 policy issues and combined this with Eurobarometer polls. Our results indicate that elected representatives from leftist parties are more congruent with left-wing constituents when civil society mobilizes, while the prevalence of corporate lobby groups strengthens congruence between rightist politicians and their constituents. Our findings contribute to an understanding of the role of interest groups in political representation and democratic governance.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)909-928
Number of pages20
JournalJournal of Common Market Studies
Issue number4
Early online date19 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2021


  • congruence
  • eu politics
  • european public policy
  • interest groups
  • representation
  • European public policy
  • EU politics

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