The Political Power of Business: Structure and Information in Public Policymaking

Patrick Bernhagen

Research output: Book/ReportBook

36 Citations (Scopus)


This book analyzes the influence of business in democratic politics. Advice from business actors regularly carries more weight with policymakers than other interests because it refers to the core of the state-market nexus in democratic capitalism: the consequences for voters and policymakers of harming business and the economy. The book examines the resulting informational and structural constraints on public policymaking and their strategic use by business lobbyists.

While the role of information is frequently acknowledged in studies on business political influence, very few empirical analyses of its strategic use exist. This book outlines a theoretical model of the role of information and its asymmetric supply for business actors’ ability to influence policy. Focusing on banking regulation and environmental politics, the informational–structural view of business power is evaluated empirically in a cross-national, multi-level research design involving case studies as well as quantitative analyses of elite survey data and policy outcomes in advanced capitalist democracies.

Patrick Bernhagen suggests that, while democracy in capitalist society is vulnerable to a pro-business policy bias, better informed policymakers can redress the balance of power with business and improve on bringing policies in line with public preferences. His analysis identifies the institutional and behavioural factors affecting business’ informational power. The Political Power of Business will be of particular interest to students and researchers of political science, policymaking and business studies.
Original languageEnglish
Place of PublicationLondon/New York
Number of pages192
ISBN (Print)9780415451055
Publication statusPublished - 13 Dec 2007


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