Department of Comparative Politics

Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz: Interest groups across different political arenas

Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz, professor at Aarhus University, gave a short lecture on Interest groups across different political arenas: the role of group type, resources and context. The presentation was based on work from the INTERARENA project - Interest Groups across Political Arenas, including the paper From Policy Interest to Media Appearance: Interest Group Activity and Media Bias, co-authored with Darren R. Halpin and Helene Helboe Pedersen

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Media attention is a scarce, yet attractive, resource for interest groups. Existing studies show that media attention is concentrated on a relatively small number of well-resourced groups, often representing economic interests. However, the literature still struggles to disentangle the reasons behind this bias in media attention. Is it explained by media selection practices or uneven interest group activity? We cannot separate these two possible mechanisms by simply studying aggregate levels of media attention. In this study, we therefore compare the set of groups that lobby in specific policy areas with the groups that appear in the news on issues related to those same policy areas. The investigation is based on data from Denmark and the United Kingdom. First, we use survey data to identify the policy areas in which groups actively lobby. Second, we identify groups’ media appearances in news stories related to those same policy areas. Third, we compare diversity among the groups actively lobbying with the groups actually appearing in the news and investigate possible biases. We find that even when the analysis of media appearances is narrowed down to only those groups active in a policy area, the news media allow more access to well-resourced groups. However, in contrast to previous findings, differences in media appearances across interest group types are not reproduced. These results imply that media selection biases are mainly produced by varying lobbying resources rather than discrimination based on the type of interests that groups represent.

Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz is a Professor in comparative politics at the Department of Political Science at Aarhus University. Her research centers on the political role of interest groups. She has also done research on media framing of politics, the Greenlandic bureaucracy and government agencies. Binderkrantz was the principal investigator of the INTERARENA project, conducted at the Department of Political Science, Aarhus University. Empirical investigations were carried out in Denmark, Great Britain, the Netherlands and Spain. The project was financed by a Sapere Aude grant from the Danish Council for Independent Research. 


The CORE Lecture Series is organised by the CORE research group (Citizens, Opinion, Representation, and Elections) at the Department of Comparative Politics. Leading international scholars are invited to present their ongoing research on a broad range of topical issues for the research group.

The seminars are funded by the SAMEVAL grant awarded by the Norwegian Research Council.