Prioritizing professionals? How the democratic and professionalized nature of interest groups shapes their degree of access to EU officials

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Abstract

Interest groups are key intermediary actors between civil society and public officials. The EU has long emphasized the importance of interacting with representative groups that involve their members. Additionally, there is an increasing trend toward the professionalization of groups that invest in organizational capacities to efficiently provide policy expertise. Both member involvement and organizational capacity are crucial features for groups to function as transmission belts that aggregate and transfer the preferences of their members to policymakers, thus reinforcing the legitimacy and efficiency of governance systems. Yet, not all groups have these organizational attributes. This paper quantitatively examines the effects of interest groups' investment in member involvement and organizational capacity on the level of access to EU Commission officials. The results indicate that member involvement does not pay off in terms of higher levels of access. In contrast, groups with high organizational capacities have more meetings with public officials of the Commission.

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Albareda, A. (2020). Prioritizing professionals? How the democratic and professionalized nature of interest groups shapes their degree of access to EU officials. European Political Science Review, 12(4), 485–501. https://doi.org/10.1017/S1755773920000247

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