Poppelaars, Caelesta and Berkhout, Joost (2009) Going to Brussels: A Population Perspective on Interest Representation in the EU. In: UNSPECIFIED. (Unpublished)
In this paper, we propose a new research strategy to better link interest representation studies to the study of European Integration. To assess the role of interest groups in European integration, we need comparative research designs to systematically vary contextual factors that shape the role of interest groups in a democracy. We develop a new comparative research strategy by focusing on organizational diversity of interest group populations. We define organizational diversity in terms of a policy orientation (i.e. the exercise of influence) and the means employed (i.e. participation of members). Based on a comparison of EU and a Dutch sample of interest groups, we find that membership orientation seems to be more important at the national level and that a policy orientation is more important at the EU level. We find that interest group activity is important throughout a wide range of policy domains and varies in terms of interests across national and European areas of competence. The business bias at the EU-level may be less normatively problematic given the inherent systemic characteristics of the EU. Our results confirm the usefulness of our research strategy in developing comparative designs in interest representation research and may be a start in building bridges between two important yet separate studies of EU policy making.
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