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Studying policy advocacy through social network analysis

Type of publication Peer-reviewed
Publikationsform Original article (peer-reviewed)
Author Varone Frédéric, Ingold Karin, Jourdain Charlotte,
Project Lobbying, litigation and direct democracy: Comparing advocacy strategies of interest groups in Switzerland and California
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Original article (peer-reviewed)

Journal European Political Science
Volume (Issue) 16(3)
Page(s) 322 - 336
Title of proceedings European Political Science
DOI 10.1057/eps.2016.16

Open Access

Type of Open Access Repository (Green Open Access)


Social Network Analysis conceptualises a policy-making process as a network of actors. It can assess if an interest group occupies a leading central position within this policy network, if it belongs to various ad hoc coalitions or if it plays a brokering role between different stakeholders. Such network variables are crucial to capture how interest groups mobilise and gain access to policy-makers, and to explain their goal achievements and potential policy influence as well. This article reviews recent studies applying the methodological tools of Social Network Analysis. It then proposes an innovative research design to investigate how interest groups seek to influence the course of a policy-making process across many institutional venues.