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Thomas Paster (Collegio Carlo Alberto)

31 March 2016 @ 14:00


  • Past event


31 March 2016
Event Category:

“Business and Politics: A Relationship of Dominance or of Adaptation?”


How influential are business interest groups in politics? Scholars in the field of business and politics try to understand the causes and mechanisms of business influence, such as lobbying, elite networks, political donations, and structural dependence of governments on investments. Thereby, research creates a picture of influence going in only one direction: from business interest groups to politics. In this presentation I argue that thereby we miss an important other aspect: adaptation by business interest groups to political constraints. 

I will outline two analytical perspectives: One, which we can trace back to Karl Marx and that theorizes business influence in politics; and a second one, which we can trace back to Joseph Schumpeter and that theorizes business adaptation to political constraints. I propose a novel typology of business-politics relations that combines these two perspectives and illustrate the usefulness of this typology with empirical research on industrial relations and social policy reforms in Germany, drawing on policy documents and interviews. The findings show substantial variation both in the influence of business and in its willingness to adapt.