Information exchange between interest groups and policy-makers and its effect on policy responsiveness
This subproject aims at investigating whether the information supply by interest groups has an effect on the responsiveness of governments. Policymaking happens in the face of uncertainty and policymakers do not necessarily know how effective a solution to a given policy will be, how the public will react to it, or what its impact will be. As a result, policymakers rely on different types of information for decision-making which interest groups may help provide. The involvement of interest groups, however, creates the risk that profit-gaining interests prevail over public preferences. It is for that reason that this subproject aims to examine how the information supply by interest groups affects responsiveness. The subproject will map the information flows between interest groups and policymakers in the different phases of policy making on a selected set of policy issues. It will put particular emphasis on the “reception side” to assess what type of information policymakers value the most and to what type of information policymakers are most responsive. Theoretical expectations will be tested in a cross-national design, relying on data from expert interviews, large n surveys of active lobby groups and content analysis of relevant documents.