about the interarena project

Interest groups are important players in liberal democracies. Trade unions seek influence on labour market politics, business groups are active in debates on market regulation and environmental groups try to make climate policy a central governmental priority. Studying which groups are successful in influencing policy is a core issue for political science (Christiansen et al. 2004; Dür & De Bièvre 2007; Jordan et al. 2004). Interest groups operate in complex political environments and are active in relation to the bureaucracy, parliament, and the media. While the administrative arena has traditionally played the most central role for interest group influence in European countries, the media and the parliament have in recent decades become increasingly important arenas. Consequently, it is particularly relevant to examine whether these arenas give access to previously low influence groups – or whether the same groups are successful across different arenas. The INTERARENA project aimed to explain the political role of interest groups in the administrative, the parliamentary and the media arena. Findings from the projects have been published in numerous research articles - see the publications page on this website.

key finding: cumulative access

A key finding from the project is that political access is highly cumulative both within and across political arenas. This has been demonstrated in numerous substudies focusing for example on media access in different countries or access to various arenas in the same country. The Figure below demonstrates this for the Danish case. Access has been registered in the administrative, the parliamentary and the media arena. As shown, only a minority of groups were present in all arenas, but those groups accounted for about two-thirds of all access. 

For further information, please refer to the article: "Interest group access to the bureaucracy, parliament and the media" published in Governance; https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/gove.12089

key finding: a rise in citizen groups

A key finding from the project is that the Danish interest group population has become more diverse over time. As illustrated below (the Figure shows changes in the share of different groups from 1975 to 2010), in particular public interest groups have become more numerous over time. In addition, they have increased their representation across all political arenas. This has come at the expense on more traditional interest groups and in particular trade unions are less well represented today.

For further detail, please refer to the article: "The rise of citizen groups? The mobilization and representation of Danish interest groups, 1975-2010" published in Scandinavian Political Studies. https://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/full/10.1111/1467-9477.12073

Project documentation

Project description

Interest group categories

Survey frequencies
Original codebook administrative consultations

Original codebook public committees

Original codebook Danish news media
Original codebook deputations to parliament

Original codebook letters to parliament