Government‒business relations in multilevel systems: the effect of conflict perception on venue choice

David Marshall*, Patrick Bernhagen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)


In multilevel systems, organised interests, including business firms, can pursue their political goals at different levels. At the same time, national systems of interest representation provide important incentive structures for corporate political behaviour. In this context, corporate political strategy is guided by firms’ perceptions of their relationship with policy-makers. If this relationship is under strain in one venue, firms shift their lobbying effort to alternative venues, subject to constraints reflecting national institutional legacies. Using survey data on 56 large German and British firms, the article investigates empirically how perceptions of government‒business relations and national systems of interest representation interact to shape the political behaviour of large firms in multilevel systems. The analysis shows that perceived conflict with public authorities at the national level leads to increased business lobbying at the EU level. Furthermore, national types of interest representation shape relative business engagement at the EU level as well as the readiness of firms to shift venue.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)981-1003
Number of pages23
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number5
Early online date25 Apr 2017
Publication statusPublished - 3 Sep 2017


  • Corporate lobbying
  • corporatism
  • government‒business relations
  • multilevel governance
  • venue shopping


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