Lobbying in Finnish municipalities
The project is connected to the Kone Foundation’s 2022 thematic program ”Current State and Challenges of Finnish Democracy,” aiming to enhance the understanding of lobbying practices at the municipal level, its blind spots, and its role within municipal democracy and its future.
This multi-year project (2023–2027) investigates the political everyday life and democracy of Finnish municipalities with a particular focus on political influencing within municipalities, an activity commonly referred to as lobbying.
The project has three research questions: 1) How does lobbying manifest in the political everyday life of municipalities? 2) How do local-level actors, both decision-makers and those engaged in influencing activities, understand lobbying? 3) Does lobbying promote or hinder the functioning of pluralistic municipal democracy? The project examines these questions using qualitative research methods in nine Finnish municipalities. The data collection combines interview research, ethnographic observation, and survey research.
The project team is multidisciplinary, and the strengths and expertise of its members in lobbying research, municipal democracy, and ethnographic methods complement each other. The project collaborates with the Association of Finnish Local and Regional Authorities (Kuntaliitto) and the Ministry of Justice Finland.
The project is simultaneously both domestic and international in scope. It focuses on the everyday aspects of Finnish democracy, and its results are valuable for research on municipal democracy, municipalities, and legislators alike. The project’s findings will be widely disseminated. As research on municipal lobbying has been scarce, the project also holds significant international interest, and its results will be reported in both domestic and international scientific publications.