Parliamentarians and Interest Groups: Drivers and Consequences of Collaboration

In Western democracies, members of parliaments (MPs) rarely face any restrictions when it comes to working side jobs next to their mandate. Many MPs therefore often hold numerous positions on leadership boards, supervisory boards, and advisory boards of various associations, foundations, companies, and other types of interest groups.

Benefits from such long-term collaboration are mutual. Parliamentarians gain additional sources of income, support for their parliamentary workload, platforms to raise their profile (particularly so during elections) as well as the possibility for post-parliamentary employment. Interest groups, in contrast, obtain advocates in parliament, receive political insider knowledge, and can use MPs as a status symbol when signalling trustworthiness and connectedness to their members, partners, investors, or donors.

In his PhD project, Oliver studies parliamentarians' career trajectories in interest groups and the behavioural consequences they entail. In a first step, he focuses on the question of why and when parliamentarians obtain positions on boards of interest groups. In subsequent steps, he directs his attention to behavioural implications. How do interest group ties alter MPs’ behaviour in parliament (e.g. when using legislative instruments) and how do MPs strategically use their interest group position for building their career?

Oliver’s PhD project is embedded in the framework of the Parliamentary Careers in Comparison project (PCC) funded by the Swiss National Science Foundation. The PCC project sets out to collect large quantities of data on the careers of national and regional parliamentarians and candidates in Switzerland, Germany, and the Netherlands after the Second World War.

Supervisor: Stefanie Bailer

Co-Supervisors: Simon Hug und Heike Klüver


Oliver Huwyler joined the University of Basel’s Department of Political Science as a PhD researcher in September 2016. He holds an M.A. degree in Comparative and International Studies from ETH Zurich and the University of Zurich and a B.A. degree in political science and history from the University of Lucerne. Oliver’s research interests lie primarily in the area of legislative studies where he directs special attention to questions of interest representation and lobbying


For an updated list of publications, please see <link de personen oliver-huwyler publikationen>

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Portrait Oliver Huwyler G3S 2018

Oliver Huwyler
Department of Political Science
Bernoullistrasse 14-16, Office 03.010
4056 Basel

Tel: +41 (0)61 207 56 84