Employers' associations networks in vocational training in Switzerland

Annatina Aerne

Contact: annatina.aerne@unisg.ch

What factors determine employers’ associations’ participation in policy-making in Switzerland in the policy field of vocational education? In order to answer this question, we examine a unique set of network and covariate data describing the participation of 153 employers’ associations in two different national policy-making arenas relevant to vocational training: federal commissions and national conferences. Employers associations’ joint participation in a policy forum forms a link between two associations. Together, these links form a network of employers’ associations. Applying an exponential random graph model allows controlling for dependencies between the observations. The models determine which characteristics of the organization and which network dynamics make it probable for associations to be present in the two national policy arenas. The aim of the analysis is to find out, which factors drive connections among associations in the two policy networks. Do connections predominantly depend on professionalization of the association, or on the number of apprentices an association represents? Our preliminary results show that the size of the association itself or the degree of professionalism of the association do not matter, but that the number of apprentices represented by the employers’ associations is highly significant. Our paper contributes to a better understanding of interest aggregation in corporatist policy systems, and touches upon the question of legitimacy of these corporatist structures.

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