Subproject 2

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Interest groups and responsiveness in Denmark, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Germany and Sweden (Rasmussen etc.)

This subproject examines the conditioning impact of interest groups on policy responsiveness in five countries, namely Denmark, the UK, the Netherlands, Germany, and Sweden. More specifically, we analyze whether politicians respond to calls for actions on specific issues expressed in public opinion polls in the time period between 2005 and 2010. We investigate whether and how a number of characteristics of the groups active on an issue (such as the size, diversity, positions, strategies, resources, and constituency interests of the active group community) affect the public opinion-policy linkage. Moreover, we control for additional variables at the issue and the country level. Our samples of public opinion items are drawn from national databases and include public opinion items on specific issues stratified in such a way that they include variation in media salience, policy type (distributive, redistributive, regulatory), and across time. Possible policy changes and interest group activities occurring up to four years after the public opinion item was asked are recorded. Our data collection includes expert interviews with civil servants working within the policy portfolio of the issues in all five countries as well as surveys of the active lobbying groups.

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