The paradox of collective action: Linking interest aggregation and interest articulation in EU legislative lobbying

Iskander De Bruycker*, Joost Berkhout, Marcel Hanegraaff

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

17 Citations (Web of Science)

Abstract

Olson's logic of collective action predicts that business interest associations face fewer collective action problems than citizen action groups. This article challenges this assumption by arguing that forming an organization comes with different collective action problems than voicing a joint policy position. This leads us to examine an important paradox: Citizen groups face challenges in establishing themselves as organizations but find it relatively easy to position themselves on policy issues, whereas the reverse is true for business associations. We study this paradox empirically based on interviews with spokespersons of interest organizations active in the European Union and find support for our hypotheses. Our findings demonstrate that citizen groups position themselves on policy issues more easily than business interests and that this competitive advantage is amplified when policy issues attract the attention of the media.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)295-312
Number of pages18
JournalGovernance: an international journal of policy, administration, and institutions
Volume32
Issue number2
Early online date13 Dec 2018
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2019
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • NONPROFIT ADVOCACY ORGANIZATIONS
  • PUBLIC-INTEREST
  • CIVIL-SOCIETY
  • COMPETITION
  • STRATEGIES
  • POLITICS
  • ACCESS

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