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Network ties, institutional roles and advocacy tactics:Exploring explanations for perceptions of influence in climate change policy networks

Wagner, Paul M.; Ocelík, Petr; Gronow, Antti; Ylä-Anttila, Tuomas; Schmidt, Luisa; Delicado, Ana


Petr Ocelík

Antti Gronow

Tuomas Ylä-Anttila

Luisa Schmidt

Ana Delicado


The extent to which a policy actor is perceived as being influential by others can shape their role in a policy process. The interest group literature has examined how the use of advocacy tactics, such as lobbying or media campaigns, contributes to an actor’s perceived influence. The policy networks literature, in turn, has found that network ties and occupying certain institutional roles can explain why actors are perceived as influential. When investigating what explains perceptions of influence, interest groups scholars have not accounted for network interdependencies and network scholars have so far not examined the advocacy tactics used by interest groups. This paper addresses the gap at the intersection of these two literatures by investigating the relationship between network ties, institutional roles, advocacy tactics and the presence of influence attribution ties in climate change policy networks. Exponential random graph models are applied to network data collected from the organisations participating in the national climate change policymaking processes in six EU countries that vary by the extent to which they are majoritarian or consensual democracies: Czechia, Finland, Germany, Ireland, Portugal, and Sweden. The results show that network ties and institutional roles are better predictors of influence attribution ties than advocacy tactics and that there is no pattern in the relationship between advocacy tactics and influence attribution ties across different institutional contexts. These findings suggest that because influence is primarily associated with structural factors (network ties and institutional roles) that more established policy actors are likely to have more influence, which may inhibit the need for a significant step change in climate policies.

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Nov 7, 2021
Online Publication Date Nov 25, 2021
Publication Date 2023-10
Deposit Date Oct 7, 2022
Journal Social Networks
Print ISSN 0378-8733
Publisher Elsevier
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 75
Pages 78-87
Keywords Climate change, Policy network, Interest groups, Network analysis, ERGM, Perceived Influence
Public URL