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Börner, Kira (March 2004): Political Economy Reasons for Government Inertia: The Role of Interest Groups in the Case of Access to Medicines. Discussion Papers in Economics 2004-4


The reluctant reaction of western governments to the AIDS crisis in developing countries is only one example for policy areas where we observe a lack of political action despite a public interest in policy change. The reasons for that lie in the two-stage structure of the political decision-making process: Interest groups influence both the policy choice and the subsequent decision on the level of policy implementation. The lobbies' interest in reform and the issue-specific chance for compromise determine the policy choice. The interest groups' failure to agree on political strategies creates reduced incentives to support policy implementation.