The flow of money and interests in policymaking
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This dissertation is comprised of three papers that analyze the relationship between political money, elite interests and policies. Individual papers in this work are connected through this overarching theme and the methodology that is used. Each paper employs statistical methods on large-scale datasets with an emphasis on network analysis. The first paper investigates the relationship between the strength of elite connections and the success of renewable energy and emission reduction policies. Based on an original dataset created from social media accounts of the ministers in 34 countries, this analysis uses a stochastic block model and modularity analysis to compare the strength of connections between different types of elites. The quantitative analysis is complemented by in-depth interviews conducted in seven European countries. The second paper explores the relationship between socio-political capital of state-level American politicians and their agenda holding power in legislation. Using a very extensive dataset on campaign contribution records and state-level bill proposals in the United States, this paper employs survival analysis to explore the aforementioned connection. The third paper is a quantitative description of the large datasets on federal- and state-level campaign contribution records and state-level bill proposals. Using visualization, network analysis, and clustering, the last part of the dissertation uncovers some of the connections between big political donors, parties, private sector, and legislation. The last paper in the dissertation also contains a typological identification section for donors and lawmakers. The goal of the dissertation is to expand the literature on elites, to explore what new stories can be told about political money in the United States, and to make use of large-scale datasets for more conclusive arguments in American politics and policy literature.