The project analyses the work and life-worlds of policy professionals – people who are employed to affect politics and policy rather than elected to office. They are increasingly found as political and policy advisors in government agencies and political parties, in interest organisations, think tanks, PR bureaus and in private firms. They include groups such as political advisors, political secretaries, trade union and business association experts, lobbyists, and think-tank intellectuals.
The project will be organized around three main interlinked issues, to be tackled in a comparative format:
1. The work of policy professionals as a particular form for political influence
2. The occupation and career choices of policy professionals
3. The labour market for policy professionals.
The project asks how and to what extent the situation and development of policy professionals differ among European polities, including both newer democracies of the Baltic region and historically long-standing democracies of North-Western Europe. Through a comparison across selected European countries (Latvia, Ireland, and the Netherlands) this study will shed light on the institutional effects on the goals, motivations, careers, and strategies of this key group of political actors.