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Juho Vesa, Anu Kantola, Anne Skorkjær Binderkrantz

A Stronghold of Routine Corporatism? The Involvement of Interest Groups in Policy Making in Finland


While the Nordic countries have a tradition of integrating privileged interest groups into policy making, a number of studies have argued that this Nordic ‘routine corporatism’ has changed over the last decades. Studies of Denmark, Norway and Sweden demonstrate that interest groups are less frequently involved in committees preparing policy, that lobbying of parliament has become more important and that the position of citizen groups has strengthened. However, systematic studies of present‐day Finland are largely missing. This article therefore adds to the literature by focusing on the Finnish case. Drawing on surveys of interest groups and civil servants, the involvement of interest groups in policy making in Finland is assessed and compared with Denmark and the United Kingdom. It is found that: (1) working groups and similar bodies are still very important sites of advocacy; (2) public administration is a more important site of advocacy than parliament or government; (3) economic groups continue to enjoy a particularly privileged position; and (4) resources predict groups’ access to policy making more strongly in Finland than in Denmark or the United Kingdom. These findings imply that routine corporatism persists in Finland to a greater extent than in Denmark. The study augments the existing evidence that corporatism may have adapted to new circumstances rather than being eliminated.

Article is open access until the 28th of December 2018.