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Ties that count: explaining interest group access to policymakers

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  27 November 2013

Jan Beyers
Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp, Belguim; University Agder, Norway E-mail:
Caelesta Braun
Department of Political Science and Public Administration, Vu University Amsterdam, The Netherlands; University of Antwerp, Belguim E-mail:


The degree to which interest groups gain access to policymakers has often been explained by focusing on the exchange of resources in a dyadic relation between interest groups and policymakers. This article argues that the position an interest group occupies within a coalition and the relations it has outside its coalition substantially affect the likelihood of gaining access to policymakers. Our empirical focus is on the Dutch interest group system for which we examine how coalitions among groups and the network position of interest groups within and between such coalitions shape access. The analysis, based on data collected among 107 Dutch interest groups and 28 policymakers, leads to the conclusion that network positions count differently for elected and non-elected officials, and that network ties that bridge different coalitions add significant explanatory leverage to resource-based explanations of access.

Research Article
Copyright © Cambridge University Press 2013 

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