My research concentrates on democratizing and professionalizing European public affairs. It unveils patterns of biased representation and systematic inequality towards disadvantaged interests and demographic groups. It reveals patterns of (un)successful advocacy tactics across a large variety of policy areas and cases. All my research is evidence-based and draws from political methodology. By communicating my research broadly and by making it freely accessible, I seek to cultivate EU policy processes in which all citizens are able to make their voices heard.

The triangular relationship between citizens, lobby groups and politicians is my central object of study. I investigate whether, when and which European citizens see their policy preferences translated into EU policy outcomes. My ongoing projects address pressing societal issues such as advocacy in times of Corona, populist communication towards the EU and the link between money and lobbying influence. I am now in the process of developing two new research projects titled (1) ACCESS4ALL: Why is access to policymakers (not) equal for all lobbyists? and (2) Lobbying for survival in times of COVID-19.

My work is widely published in academic journals and popular outlets. You can find a list of my academic publications below. My blogs and news media contributions are listed on a separate page.

An overview of publications:

De Bruycker, I., & Hanegraaff, M. (2023). The people versus the money: What drives interest group influence in the European Union?

Subject: This paper evaluates whether lobbying influence is open to the highest bidder or boosted by congruence with popular opinion. Common wisdom holds that well-endowed organizations prevail in lobbying battles. This perception contrasts with recent observations, which point to the decisive role of public opinion. This paper unites these seemingly contrasting stances by arguing that both economic resources and congruence with public opinion are paramount for lobbying influence. We demonstrate that interest groups with more economic resources are generally more influential, but only if their policy positions are congruent with a public majority.

De Bruycker, I., & Colli, F. (2023). Affluence, congruence, and lobbying success in EU climate policy.

Subject: This article analyses which interest groups lobby on EU climate policies and under which conditions these groups achieve their policy goals. Economic resources give groups the capacity to mobilise expertise, but an interest group’s success also depends on its congruence with public opinion, especially in a politicised area such as EU climate policy. Our results show that interest groups with higher economic resources and with public opinion on their side are more likely to achieve their preferences on EU climate policy issues.

De Bruycker, I. & Matthijs Rooduijn (2021). The People’s Champions? Populist Communication as a Contextually Dependent Political Strategy.

Subject: This article conceives of populist communication as a contextually dependent political strategy. We bridge actor- and communication-centered approaches by arguing that the context of issues conditions the extent to which parties employ populist communication. Our findings show that populist parties are more prone to express populism on salient and polarized issues. Issues important to civil society groups, in contrast, make non-populist parties more inclined to express such communication.

Rasmussen, A., & De Bruycker, I. (2021). Blessing or Curse for Congruence? How Interest Mobilization affects Congruence between Citizens and Elected Representatives.

Subject: This article examines the role of interest mobilization in strengthening or weakening congruence between elected representatives and citizens on EU policy issues. It argues that the relationship between public opinion, interest groups and elected politicians can be theorized as a selective transmission process. 

Stevens, F., & De Bruycker, I. (2020). Influence, affluence and media salience: Economic resources and lobbying influence in the European Union.  European Union Politics.

Subject: This paper evaluates the circumstances under which affluent interest groups wield influence over policy outcomes. Our empirical findings demonstrate that economic resources matter for lobbying influence, but that their effect is conditional on the media salience of policy issues.

Hanegraaff, M., & De Bruycker, I. (2020). Informational demand across the globe: toward a comparative understanding of information exchange. European Political Science Review.

Subject: This study examines the information demands of decision-makers from across the globe in their exchanges with interest organizations. It proposes two explanatory factors that drive these information demands: democracy and development. Our findings demonstrate that decision-makers from less developed countries exhibit a higher preference for interactions with organizations that provide them with technical information. Decision-makers from democratically accountable countries, by contrast, tend to place relatively greater value on political information provided by interest groups. 

Willems, E., & De Bruycker, I. (2019). Balancing constituency and congruence: How constituency involvement affects positional congruence between organized interests and the general public. Governance.

Subject: This article asks to what extent and under which conditions interest groups are congruent with public opinion. The results demonstrate that citizen groups with formal members are more prone to share the position of the broader public compared to concentrated interest groups such as business associations, especially if they involve their members in advocacy activities and when issues are salient in the media.

De Bruycker, I. (2019). Democratically deficient, yet responsive? How politicization facilitates responsiveness in the European Union. Journal of European Public Policy, 1-19

Subject: This article examines the thermostatic responsiveness of EU public policy. It inquires into the conditions under which EU policy decisions are responsive to wavering public demands for policy change and how European citizens in turn respond to policy change. 

Lucas, K., Hanegraaff, M., & De Bruycker, I. (2019). Lobbying the lobbyists: when and why do policymakers seek to influence advocacy groups in global governance?. Interest Groups & Advocacy8(2), 208-232

Subject: Advocacy is typically conceived of as an activity where advocacy groups seek and policymakers grant influence. In this paper, we turn the classic approach to advocacy upside down and ask under what conditions policymakers seek to exert influence on the positions adopted by opposing or allied advocacy groups.

De Bruycker, I., Berkhout, J. & Hanegraaff, M. (2018). The paradox of collective action: Linking interest aggregation and interest articulation in EU legislative lobbying. Governance.

Subject: Olson’s logic of collective action predicts that business interest associations face fewer collective action problems than citizen action groups. This article challenges this assumption by arguing that forming an organization comes with different collective action problems than voicing a joint policy position. 

De Bruycker, I. & Beyers J. (2018). Lobbying strategies and success: Inside and outside lobbying in EU legislative politics. European Political Science Review.

Subject: Whether interest groups should prioritize inside or outside lobbying tactics in order to materialize their policy objectives, with a specific focus on European Union legislative policymaking; demonstrates that outside lobbying is not inherently more or less successful than inside lobbying. 

De Bruycker, I. (2018). Blessing or curse for advocacy? How media presence helps advocacy groups to achieve their policy goals. Political Communication.

Subject: Whether and under what circumstances a presence in news media debates helps advocacy groups to achieve their policy goals in European Union (EU) legislative politics. 

Wonka, A., De Bruycker, I., De Bièvre, D., Braun, C. & Beyers, J. (2018). Patterns of conflict and mobilization: Mapping interest group activity in EU legislative policymaking. Politics & Governance. 6(3): 136–146.

Subject: Patterns of mobilization and conflict of interest groups’ activity in EU legislative policymaking. Unique policy-centred research design and an empirical assessment of policy mobilization for a sample of 125 EU legislative proposals based on extensive media coding as well as structured elite interviews.

De Bruycker, I. (2017). Politicization and the public interest: When do the elites in Brussels address public interests in EU policy debates? European Union Politics. 18(4) 603–619

Subject: Conditions under which political elites involved in EU legislative procedures address public interests in the news.

Beyers J. & De Bruycker I. (2017). Lobbying makes (strange) bedfellows: Explaining the Formation and Composition of Lobbying Coalitions in EU Legislative Politics. Political Studies. 66(4): 959-984.

Subject: Formation of lobbying coalitions in European Union legislative politics, whether interest organizations establish coalitions and under which conditions business interests and non-business interests join a coalition. 

De Bruycker, I. (2016). Power and position: Which EU party groups do lobbyists prioritize and why? Party Politics. 22(4): 552–562.

Subject: Which party groups in the European Parliament are prioritized by EU lobbyists and why. Focus is on two presumed key components of this prioritization process, namely power and position.

De Bruycker (2016). Framing and advocacy: A research agenda for interest group studies. Journal of European Public Policy. 24(5): 775-787.

Subject: Overview of recent work on interest group framing with some key issues that interest group scholars face when they undertake research on framing. 

De Bruycker (2015). Pressure and expertise: Explaining information supply in EU legislative lobbying.  JCMS: Journal of Common Market Studies. 54(3): 599–616.

Subject: Dominant expertise‐based exchanges in interactions with civil servants, with political information predominantly communicated to political officials and often key substance in outside lobbying tactics.

De Bruycker, I. & Beyers, J. (2015). Balanced or biased? Interest groups and legislative lobbying in the European news media. Political Communication. 32 (3): 453-474. 

Subject: Coverage of legislative lobbying in European news media. Lobbying in the crowded European Union (EU)-level interest community is not only a struggle for direct access to policymakers, interest groups rather rely on political attention generated by the media.

Beyers, J., De Bruycker, I. & Baller, I. (2014). The alignment of parties and interest groups in EU legislative politics: A tale of two different worlds? Journal of European Public Policy. 22(4): 534-551

Subject: By analyzing the context of EU legislative lobbying in relation to 54 legislative acts we demonstrate in this article that, in particular on controversial cases, the alignment of parties and interests groups reflects party political cleavages.

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