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Interest groups in multi-level governance: local issues, national consequences

Julie Pollard
Université de Lausanne
Julie Pollard
Université de Lausanne
Open Panel

Abstract

Multi-level governance has become a key issue in research programs on interest groups. In particular, effects of internationalization and European integration on interest groups’ resources and strategies have increasingly drawn scholars’ attention. However another dimension of multi-level restructuring, i.e. territorialization and deconcentration, constitutes a profound transformation in European societies that is barely dealt with in interest groups’ studies. Yet the increase in power of local and regional territories has led to the development of interest groups mobilizations towards these levels of government. In another academic field, Urban Studies researchers have created analytical tools to conceptualize interactions between local business elites and city governments. In particular, a wide literature on "urban regimes" and "growth coalitions" has been developed. But it mainly analyzes these local issues in themselves and not within a wider multi-level framework. I assume that combining these two perspectives (interest groups studies; urban studies) enhances the analysis of interest groups in multi-level governance in Europe. My paper is based on an empirical fieldwork focused on the strategies of private real-estate developers to have an influence on housing policies in two European countries (France and Spain). I argue that including infranational territories is essential to appreciate real-estate developers’ mobilizations in the housing field. While developers are minor stakeholders at national and supranational levels, they play a crucial role in the evolution of housing policies’ regulation. They are indeed extremely active at the local level and during the implementation stage of housing national policies.