ARENA Tuesday seminar: Anne Rasmussen
Anne Rasmussen presents the paper 'The Unequal Effects of the COVID-19 Pandemic on Political Interest Representation' co-authored with Gregory Eady at the ARENA Tuesday seminar on 12 October 2021.
Pro-business bias in interest representation is viewed as a persistent feature of policymaking. Yet, we know little about how crises affects these biases. Using the COVID-19 pandemic as a system-wide agenda shock, we employ a difference-in-differences strategy to estimate its effect on inequalities in political access to policy-makers, and social media prominence among business interests and NGOs. Our argument is twofold. First, the urgency and uncertainty of crises should lead decision-makers to prioritize output over input legitimacy, giving business interests advantages in obtaining access. Second, NGOs should compensate by increasing their prominence in public communications. Our analysis of data from approximately 10,000 interest groups from over 100 countries registered in the European Union supports these expectations. We demonstrate that business interests successfully capitalized on the crisis in insider arenas, while NGOs increased prominence on social media. The results have important implications for understanding how large-scale crises affect inequalities in representation.