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Bureaucrats, interest groups and policymaking: a comprehensive overview from the turn of the century

Lookup NU author(s): Dr Nayara AlbrechtORCiD



This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License (CC BY 4.0).


Government officers are key players in designing and implementing public policies. Not surprisingly, a growing body of research approaches their connections with other stakeholders, such as ministers, elected officials, and political parties. Fewer studies, however, address the relationship between bureaucrats and interest organisations. This paper provides a comprehensive overview of recent publications regarding interest groups and the public bureaucracy. The paper introduces the findings of an extensive literature review with bibliometric techniques and qualitative content analysis. To map previous studies, I analysed 1978 abstracts with VOSviewer and R. The final collection included 415 papers which were read and coded through NVivo. Based on this review, this paper exposes data on authors, countries, and research methods related to texts published between 2000 and 2022. In addition, it critically examines concepts and empirical evidence regarding the interactions between interest groups and government officers. This study advances the research agenda on interest groups by identifying gaps in previous studies and proposing new perspectives to analyse the political connections of the public bureaucracy. The findings indicate that most publications focus on interest group strategies, revolving doors, and venue choice. Fewer texts assess influence over political appointments and personal networks. Therefore, further research is required to address the causal mechanisms between access to the bureaucracy and interest group influence over public policies. Moreover, the bibliometric analysis revealed that research networks have been located in the United States and Europe and publications tend to focus on the ‘global North’. In this sense, more regional diversity might be beneficial for the development of theoretical and methodological structures able to ‘travel’ to other cases.

Publication metadata

Author(s): Albrecht NFMM

Publication type: Article

Publication status: Published

Journal: Humanities and Social Sciences Communications

Year: 2023

Volume: 10

Online publication date: 12/09/2023

Acceptance date: 10/08/2023

Date deposited: 14/09/2023

ISSN (electronic): 2662-9992

Publisher: Springer Nature


DOI: 10.1057/s41599-023-02044-8


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Funder referenceFunder name
Sao Paulo Research Foundation (FAPESP)