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.
|Number of pages||18|
|Journal||Governance: an international journal of policy, administration, and institutions|
|Early online date||13 Dec 2018|
|Publication status||Published - Apr 2019|
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