The article examines whether we can detect the phenomenon policy professionals among employees in Danish interest organizations. In the theoretical part of the article, we clarify the concept of policy professionals. The empirical part is explorative and consists primarily of qualitative interviews. We conclude that policy professional is a relevant concept, when the aim is to understand the distribution and exercise of power in Denmark.
The revolving door between politics and lobbyism is growing in Denmark without this leading to any new legislation. In several countries, with which Denmark usually compares, similar developments have led to new legislation. The legislation is justified by two general considerations: protection of public trust in the political system and protection of the economic interest of the state. The article describes the rise of revolving-door lobbyism in the Nordic countries and Germany and analyzes recent legislation regulating the revolving door. It is concluded that both public trust and the economic interest of the state are mentioned as arguments for regulation. Against this backdrop, regulation of revolving-door lobbyism in Denmark is discussed.
In recent decades, interest groups in Denmark have become more professionalized. Many interest groups have large, professional secretariats, and even smaller groups have strengthened their administration. At the same time, researchers point to the emergence of a group of policy professionals occupying positions in management, politics and organizations – and frequently switching between the various sectors. The article maps the individuals who lead almost 200 Danish interest groups. It shows that many top executives are recruited from the public sector, while it is relatively rare for politicians to be recruited for top positions in interest groups. The organization elite is similar to other elites in terms of personal characteristics and educational backgrounds.
How do the educational backgrounds and work experiences of policy professionals contribute to the visibility of Danish think tanks in Parliament (Folketinget) and in omnibus newspapers? An analysis of 126 policy professionals employed in ten privately funded think tanks indicates that most policy professionals hold social science degrees and have prior work experience from the public sector, interest organizations and the private sector. Some advocacy think tanks hire many economists, and the proportion of employees with a Master’s degree in economics correlates positively with both mentions in Parliament and the visibility of think tanks in Danish newspapers. On this basis, more research on why and under what circumstances economists are particularly apt at contributing to the public visibility of think tanks should be undertaken.
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