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Interest Representation during the Corona Virus Crisis (InterCov Project)

The Corona virus crisis has exerted a major social and economic shock in countries worldwide. Both the pandemic itself, as well as the crisis management policies resulting from it, could entail big changes for the representation of different social and economic interests in public policy. The Interest Representation during the Coronavirus Crisis (InterCov) Project was initiated in April 2020 with the aim to assess these effects of Covid-19 on interest representation and political advocacy


How did interest groups and companies represent their political interests during the Coronavirus crisis? How has this crisis affected their ability to mobilise, and express their views and needs to decision-makers? 


Our project set out to address such questions by collecting data across active interest groups and companies in ten polities in Europe, namely in Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Austria, Ireland, the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, Italy, France, and at the European Union (EU)-level. From early June to mid-July 2020, a first online survey was conducted among a sample of ca. 6.000 organisations and large firms. In 2021, we conducted interviews with stakeholders in selected countries and implemented the second wave of our survey in a subset of countries.


See below for more information on the surveys, project outputs and events, as well as examples of media coverage of our findings.

Project team:
Wiebke Marie Junk, Assistant Professor, University of Copenhagen
Michele Crepaz, Assistant Professor, Queen’s University Belfast
Marcel Hanegraaff, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
Joost Berkhout, Associate Professor, University of Amsterdam
Ellis Aizenberg, Assistant Professor, Leiden University


Project Outputs

The project's book 'Viral Lobbying' follows the influence production process on Covid-19 related policies based on both waves of our cross-country surveys.

Crepaz, M., Junk, W. M., Hanegraaff, M., & Berkhout, J. (2022) Viral Lobbying: Strategies, Access and Influence During the COVID-19 Pandemic. Berlin: De Gruyter.

The first published journal article from the project assesses how access to governments, legislatures, the bureaucracy and the media has changed after the outbreak of Covid-19 in Europe 

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, and E., Aizenberg (2021) ‘Changes in Interest Group Access in Times of Crisis: No Pain, No (Lobby) Gain’ Journal of European Public Policy. Online First. 

A second published article assesses the effect of the timing of mobilisation on Covid-19 related issues on political influence. 

Crepaz, M., M. Hanegraaff, W. M. Junk (2022) 'Is there a first mover advantage in lobbying? A comparative analysis of how the timing of mobilization affects the influence of interest organizations in 10 polities‘, Comparative Political Studies, Online First.

In a third academic paper, we analyse how access barriers and longer lock-down policies affect the strategies of interest groups, as well as their fears about organisational survival (work in progress, currently under review).

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, and E., Aizenberg (2021) ‘Fight or flight? An elite survey experiment on the effects of access barriers and interest disruption on the activities of interest organisations in 10 polities across Europe’, Preliminary Draft, March 2021.

In the future, other project outcomes will be made available here, as well as shared via other research outlets by the project team.

Information on the surveys

For an overview of all survey questions in wave 1, please see our general codebook: 

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, E., Aizenberg (2020). InterCov Project: Online Survey on Interest Representation during Covid-19. Edition : June – July 2020. 

For an overview of all survey questions in wave 2, see our second codebook: 

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, E., Aizenberg (2021). InterCov Project: Online Survey on Interest Representation during Covid-19. Second Edition: July – August 2021.

In this report, we summarise important descriptive patters we found in the data collected through our first survey.

Junk, W.M., M., Crepaz, M., Hanegraaff, J., Berkhout, E., Aizenberg (2020). Interest Representation during the Corona Virus Crisis: Results from the European Union and Nine European Countries. Summary Report

Talks and Events

Book launch: Viral Lobbying, 30 November 2022, Hybrid Event: Brussels/Online. (Sign up still possible)

Invited Talk "Lobbying during the Pandemic", KU Leuven, November 2022 


Paper presentations at the ECPR General Conference (European Consortium for Political Research), August 2021, August 2022 

Contribution to Webinar 'Lobbying in Times of Covid-19', Maastricht Uni Campus Brussels

Invited Talk "Lobbying in Times of Covid-19", SDU Politikuge, February 2021

Mini-conference in cooperation with the Public Relations Institute of Ireland, November 2020

Talk about the InterCov project at the Danish Public Affairs Rud Pedersen, November 2020

Series of Webinars on the Survey Report, October 2020

InterCov in the media

Mandagmorgen (2020) Ny undersøgelse nuancerer billedet af en regering, der kun lytter til sig selv.

L’espresso (2020) Così le lobby etiche difendono i beni comuni: e sono sempre più ascoltate.

The Huffington Post Italy (2020) Nell’emergenza i forti prosperano e i deboli soccombono.

The Good Lobby Blog (2020). In the COVID-19 emergency, the strong thrive and the weak die out in the policy space.

Politiken (2020). Debatindlæg om Minklobbyisme. 

The Good Lobby Italy (2020) Il digitale ha ridotto la distanza tra politica e società civile? ​

3Streams Blog on Medium (2020) New evidence shows Coronavirus crushed citizen groups across Europe. 

Viral Lobbying.PNG
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