When do political parties prioritize labour? Issue attention between party competition and interest group power

Simon Otjes*, C. Green-Pedersen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

12 Citations (Scopus)
68 Downloads (Pure)


This article analyses the conditions under which political parties pay attention to labour issues. It compares the dominant partisan perspective, which proposes that attention to issues is shaped by party competition, to an interest group perspective, which proposes that strong interest groups, in particular when their power is institutionalized in corporatist systems, can force parties to pay attention to their issue. We use the Comparative Agenda Project data set of election manifestos to examine these patterns in seven West European countries and corroborate our findings in the Comparative Manifesto Project data set for 25 countries. The evidence supports the interest group perspective over the partisan perspective. This shows that the study of party attention to issues should not isolate party competition from the influence of other political actors.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)619-630
Number of pages12
JournalParty Politics
Issue number4
Early online date13-Sept-2019
Publication statusPublished - 1-Jul-2021

Cite this