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Politics for Hire
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Politics for Hire

The World and Work of Policy Professionals

9781800375185 Edward Elgar Publishing
Stefan Svallfors, Institute for Futures Studies, Stockholm, Sweden
Publication Date: 2020 ISBN: 978 1 80037 518 5 Extent: 160 pp
This ground-breaking book investigates the work of policy professionals. They consist of political actors who, although not elected to office, are nonetheless employed to affect policy and politics on a partisan basis. Through an analysis of the influence and power they wield, this book sheds light on how the growth of this group represents a major transformation of the organization of politics and policy-making in advanced democracies.

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Contents
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This ground-breaking book investigates the work of policy professionals. They consist of political actors who, although not elected to office, are nonetheless employed to affect policy and politics on a partisan basis. Through an analysis of the influence and power they wield, this book sheds light on how the growth of this group represents a major transformation of the organization of politics and policy making in advanced democracies.

Taking a comparative, longitudinal perspective, Stefan Svallfors examines a combination of rich qualitative and quantitative data from countries such as Sweden, the Netherlands, Ireland and Latvia in order to explore what skills policy professionals deploy, the motivations that drive them, and the demand and use for their skills in various organizations. He links his analysis to fundamental questions about the current state and future of democracy, demonstrating that the work of policy professionals is key to understanding how contemporary political influence and democratic accountability function.

Politics for Hire will be a stimulating read for scholars and advanced students in political science, public administration, public policy and sociology. It will also provide useful insights for those working in politics and governance seeking to understand the impact and influence of policy professionals.
Critical Acclaim
‘Unelected political professionals loom increasingly large in European governance. But what do these professionals do, how do they do it, and what difference does it make? In a single study, Stefan Svallfors recasts our understanding of this sorely neglected issue, bringing the “shadow government” of complex democratic societies back to the center of focus and debate. A masterful book.’
– Jacob S. Hacker, Yale University, US

‘In most western democracies, trust in government has been going down. In this path-breaking and truly original book, Stefan Svallfors provides an important clue to this worrying development, namely the huge increase of a group of political actors he labels “the policy professionals”. They can have titles like PR Consultant or Political Advisor and they have until now largely “gone under the radar” in studies of the machinery of power in established democracies. Using a large empirical material, this book provides a fascinating analysis of who they are, what they do and how they operate.’
– Bo Rothstein, University of Gothenburg, Sweden
Contents
Contents: 1. The new unelected 2. A research field in the making 3. Glocal political action: generic skills, local application 4. Power without responsibility 5. The peculiar market for political skills (with Niels Selling) 6. Lobbying for profits: the Swedish case (with Anna Tyllström) 7. Policy professionals and the future of democracy Index
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