Beate Kohler-Koch, Peter Kotzian, Christine Quittkat
The multilevel interest representation of national business associations

West European Politics, 2017: 40, Heft 5, S. 1046-1065
ISSN: 0140-2382 (print); 1743-9655 (online)

The role of interest groups in EU policy-making has been widely researched, but findings are still inconclusive. With regard to national business interest associations (BIAs), it is generally acknowledged that they have adopted a multilevel strategy in the course of EU integration. Yet there is little empirical knowledge as to how much attention they devote to national compared to EU institutions, how this varies between different levels of responsibility and which features of BIAs allow for access. Based on a large new dataset of BIAs from France, Germany, Poland and the United Kingdom, this article tests hypotheses derived from an exchange model of interest intermediation. The analysis shows that BIAs with high financial resources, BIAs with a high level of representativeness and multisectoral BIAs have the highest probability of access, whereas the economic importance of the represented sector has no relevance, not even for access to elected political actors, be they national or European.