Department of Government
Research project

Policy Capacity of Interest Groups (POLCAP)

The POLCAP project focuses on interest groups representing professions, users and providers of education services in Norway, and compares them to their counterparts in a similar education system (Finland) and in a contrasting one (Germany). It is a comparative mixed-method multi-level analysis, theoretically grounded in literature on interest groups, organization theory and education governance, involving a highly experienced team of researchers from different disciplinary fields.


Main content


Interest groups in the public sector are organizations which represent various stakeholders - workers, professions, providers and users of public sector services. They are expected to contribute to governing the public sector by contributing information, expertise and legitimacy. However, we know surprisingly little about the overall capacity of these organizations to fulfill these expectations, whether some interest groups have more capacity than others, how they go about building such capacity internally and what trade-offs they might be facing.

This project focuses on a part of the public sector in which there is a strong presence of interest groups: education. The main goal is to identify how much and what kind of policy capacity interest groups in education possess, how can this be explained and what are the implications for the overall capacity to govern education.

The key empirical focus is on education interest groups in Norway, including trade unions and professional associations, organizations representing the interests of beneficiaries of education (students, parents and employers), and organizations representing the interests of education providers (e.g. private kindergartens, higher education institutions). The Norwegian organizations are compared to their counterparts in Finland and Germany, with an aim to tease out how the overall political structure, specificities of the education system concerning level of privatization and the relationship between vocational and academic profiles affect interest group policy capacity.


POLCAP is funded through the FINNUT programme of the Research Council of Norway.

Financing NRC
The Research Council of Norway



For more information about the POLCAP Project, contact Martina Vukasovic (Principal investigator) or Sara B. Hagfors (Research Assistant).