ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

ECPR

Install the app

Install this application on your home screen for quick and easy access when you’re on the go.

Just tap Share then “Add to Home Screen”

Institutionalized Access to Government: Examining the Connection between Corporatism and Party-Interest Group Relationships

Comparative Politics
Institutions
Interest Groups
Political Parties
Simon Otjes
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Simon Otjes
Rijksuniversiteit Groningen
Elin Haugsgjerd Allern
Universitetet i Oslo
Tim Bale
Queen Mary, University of London
Anne Rasmussen
University of Copenhagen

Abstract

Particular interest groups can get stable, institutionalized access to government in at least two different ways: directly through corporate arrangements or indirectly by maintaining organized relationships with major political parties over time. Both are institutional aspects that probably shape the nature of democratic governance, but the relationship between the two mechanisms is disputed and not yet settled. Is there a connection between corporatism and party-interest group relations? And if so, does institutionalized access at the system-level stimulate or temper organized relationships at the party-level? Scholarly literature suggests there is, in particular, a relationship as far as trade unions, left-of-centre parties and corporatism go: when trade union confederations focus their attention on corporatist negotiations with the government and employers, there is less need for direct interaction between them and political parties. Indeed, by incorporating organized interests into the state, governments can end up weakening civil society associations. Anecdotal historical evidence, however, indicates that the correlation between corporatism and party-union relationships is positive. Rigorous empirical tests have so far not been conducted across numerous countries. In this paper, we systematically investigate the relationship between the degree of corporatism/pluralism and the strength of organizational ties between left-of-centre parties and trade union confederations/major unions in 12 mature democracies in Western Europe, North America and Oceania. Our predictions are tested on a novel dyadic dataset, including an aggregated scale of relational ties between the two sides, based on original organizational data collected in 2013-14.