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Do business lobbying coalitions increase the lobby success of business interest groups in the European Commission?

Research Paper (undergraduate) 2018 16 Pages

Politics - International Politics - Topic: European Union

Excerpt

Table of contents

1. Introduction - Relevance of the research question

2. Theory
2.1. Lobbying in the European Commission
2.2. Exchange theory - access goods

3. Argument

4. Method
4.1. Case Study Design
4.2. Case selection

5. Analysis
5.1. Case description - Emission trading system
5.2. Case Analysis
5.3. Case outcome

6. Discussion
6.1. Limitations and Implications

7. Conclusion

8. Bibliography

Abstract

In the end of November 2017, the German Minister of Agriculture voted surprisingly for a further use of the herbicide Glyphosate in the Council of the European Union. However, Minister Schmidt did neither concur with his national coalition partner SPD nor with the World Health Organisation, which declared that Glyphosate could foster cancer. Did Schmidt give the agriculture lobby a voice with his vote? Companies like Monsanto, being part of the German Giant Bayer and the agriculture lobby, would have lost its main field of business with a decision against the herbicide. The controversial case of Glyphosate revives the old debate on the role of business interest lobbyism in the EU. Frequently, the process of policy making is under critic by the public for its lack of transparency in regard to the influence of powerful business lobbies. Particular the European Commission (EC), which on one hand has an exceptional role in the European legislation and on the other hand relies on input legitimacy for their policy-making, which is mainly provided by experts (interest groups) and on their expert information.

With my study I want to contribute to the current debate on the influence of so-called lobby coalitions on policy outcomes with a focus on the way the lobbying process in the European Commission is organized. Since this is a rather new field that still lacks empirical research, I will analyse the influence of lobby coalitions in European policymaking with the help of a representative case. I will focus on business lobby coalitions especially.

Illustration directory

I. Figure 1. Concept of lobby coalitions

II. Figure 2. The cognitive structure of resource classes

III. Figure 3. Answer frequency of answer options a - e

IV. Figure 4. The relative share of the lobby coalitions

V. Figure 5. The overall situation of the case

VI. Figure 6. Movement of the EC’s position after consultations

1. Introduction - Relevance of the research question

In the end of November 2017, the German Minister of Agriculture voted surprisingly for a further use of the herbicide Glyphosate in the Council of the European Union. However, Minister Schmidt did neither concur with his national coalition partner SPD nor with the World Health Organisation, which declared that Glyphosate could foster cancer. Did Schmidt give the agriculture lobby a voice with his vote? Companies like Monsanto, being part of the German Giant Bayer and the agriculture lobby, would have lost its main field of business with a decision against the herbicide. The controversial case of Glyphosate revives the old debate on the role of business interest lobbyism in the EU. Frequently, the process of policy making is under critic by the public for its lack of transparency in regard to the influence of powerful business lobbies. Particular the European Commission (EC), which on one hand has an exceptional role in the European legislation and on the other hand relies on input legitimacy for their policy-making, which is mainly provided by experts (interest groups) and on their expert information.

With my study I want to contribute to the current debate on the influence of so called lobby coalitions on policy outcomes with a focus on the way the lobbying process in the European Commission is organized. Since this is a rather new field that still lacks empirical research, I will analyse the influence of lobby coalitions in European policymaking with the help of a representative case. I will focus on business lobby coalitions especially.

2. Theory

2.1. Lobbying in the European Commission

The legislative institutions within the European Union are targets of different types of interest groups. There are business groups, citizen groups and even more, who all have the goal to influence the EU policy making in their favour (Dur & Mateo, 2012). Therefore, those interest groups use different access points in the European Union. Dur and Mateo (2012) examine in their study, that business interest groups (BIGs) especially address the European Commission. Furthermore, every second registered IG at the EC is a BIG (Coen & Katsaitis, 2013). They argue that the ability of BIGs to supply information and expertise provides them with access to the European Commission (EC), which strongly relies on the resource of expert information for their policies and their output legitimacy (Coen & Katsaitis, 2013; Dur & Mateo, 2012; Kluver, 2012). I will use the term ‘’resource’’ when I refer to anything, which can be transmitted from one person to another according to the definition by Kazemi and Tornblom (2012, p.16 )

Moreover Kluver (2012) finds that lobbying success, meaning preferences each organization translated into policy outcomes, can largely be explained by the information that interest groups supply to the EC. In her study Kluver stresses that the information supply by so called ’lobbying coalitions’ has the biggest effect on the IG’s lobby success, since lobbying is a complex and collective process (Kluver, 2012). Those coalitions are composed out of interest groups fighting for the same policy objective (Kluver, 2011).

In the following Figure 1 from Kluver (2011) are lobby coalition A and lobby coalition B depicted. Both are located along the unidimensional issue line and consist out of different interest groups (IG in the figure), which are located either on the left or the right side of the EC’s position, marked as ‘’COMM’’ in the figure (Kluver, 2011).

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 1. Concept of lobby coalitions. Reprinted from “The contextual nature of lobbying: Explaining lobbying success in the European Union,” by H. Kluver, 2011, European Union Politics, 12(4), p. 486.

All groups located on the left side of the Commission position (IG1, IG2, IG3, IG4) pull the European Commission towards the left side of the policy space and therefore form lobbying coalition A. By contrast, all interest groups located on the right side of the Commission position (IG5, IG6) pull the Commission towards the right side of the policy scale and therefore form lobbying coalition B. Kluver (2011) assumes that all interest groups placed on the same side of the initial Commission position form a lobbying coalition that advocates a common policy objective.

2.2. Social Exchange Theory and access goods

The previously described process of exchanging resources between the EC and IGs can also be analysed with help of the Social Exchange Theory (SET). Bouwen (2002) argues that EU institutions seek certain goods from private actors, like information, in return for ‘access’ to the EU policy-making process. He calls such goods ‘access goods’, which enable interest groups to enter the political process and influence it (Bouwen, 2002). To ensure the possibility to apply the SET to a more general lobbying context, I will use the definition of organizational exchange by Levine and White (1961), which builds the basis for the concept of lobbying, as I proceed:

‘‘Organizational exchange is any voluntary activity between two organizations which has consequences, actual or anticipated, for the realization of their respective goals or objectives‘‘ (Levine & White, 1961, p.588).

Since the definition leaves out a concrete determination of the transferred resources, the application field becomes very broad. In order to narrow the application down to lobbying in the EU, I will introduce a study which establishes a categorization of six different resource classes. Kazemi and Tornblom (2012) examine the resources with a two-dimensional classification, measuring the extent of Particularism (y-axis) and Concreteness (x-axis). The resulting pattern of the six resource classes: love, status, information, money, goods, and service, are depicted in Figure 2.

Abbildung in dieser Leseprobe nicht enthalten

Figure 2. The cognitive structure of resource classes. Reprinted from “Handbook of Social Resource Theory: Theoretical Extensions, Empirical Insights, and Social Applications,” by A. Kazemi & K. Y, Tornblom, 2012, New York: Springer, p. 19

From data deriving from several experiments the authors conclude, that neighbouring resources can be substituted for one another more easily and more efficiently than distant ones (Kazemi & Tornblom, 2012). EC policy making can be identified as a service in the perspective of Kazemi and Tornblom (2012). Given the proposed organizational exchange between the EC and BIGs, in which expert information from BIGs is exchanged for influence in the European policy making, information and services become the relevant resources in this context (Bouwen, 2002; Coen & Katsaitis, 2013; Dur & Mateo, 2012; Kluver, 2012).

As shown in Figure 2, information and service are direct opposites of each other, implying based on Kazemi and Tornblom (2012) that these two resources can be hardly substituted for another. As a second step, one can conclude that service and information will be exchanged between the organizations since both organizations in this proposed context strive reciprocal for each other’s resources (Kazemi & Tornblom, 2012).

Furthermore, Levine and White (1961) define four main dimensions of actual exchange:

1. The parties to the exchange.
2. The kinds and quantities exchanged.
3. The agreement underlying the exchange.
4. The direction of the exchange.

Directly applied to the described organizational exchange happening in the EC - BIGs lobbying context this means:

The parties to the exchange are BIGs and the EC. The kinds and quantities exchanged are derived from Kazemi and Tornblom (2012) resource categorization: information and services (representing policymaking influence). Whereas the underlying agreement in lobbying can vary between implicit and informal or fairly explicit and highly formalized, depending on the concrete situation. Since I will examine BIGs lobbying on the example of official public consultations, initiated by the EC, the underlying agreement is rather explicit and formalized. The direction of the exchange is joint, since elements flow from two different lobby coalitions, each of them acting in unison towards a third party, the EC (Levine & White, 1961).

3. Argument

I will develop my argumentation composed out of the Social Exchange Theory with a focus on the dimensions of actual exchange outlined by Levine and White (1961) and the lobby coalitions literature in the EU. The foundation of my research is the assumption that information supply from interest groups to the European Institutions will lead to benefits granted to the interest groups in exchange. Consequently, I assume, that an actual exchange of resources is taking place between the EC and IGs. My approach will further concentrate on the joint direction of exchange, considering the joint information supply by the lobby coalitions to the EC and the EC offering the service of policymaking influence directed to the lobby coalitions in return. Therefore I will set my focus on business lobby coalitions, since Kluver (2012) stresses that information supply by lobby coalitions has a much bigger effect on the IG’s lobby success than information supply by a single IG. Thus, the bigger the relative lobby coalition, the more probable is their chance of lobby success, since they are able to supply the EC with more information comparatively (Kluver, 2012).

Applied to the concrete case of IG - lobbying directed at the EC, I will try to examine the influence of especially BIGs on the EC, since the EC relies heavily on BIG’s expert information, which results in better access for BIGs to the EC (Bouwen, 2002; Dur & Mateo, 2012). Furthermore, BIGs have an extreme high representation rate with 47% at the EC’s Register of Interest Representatives, meaning almost every second IG is an BIG (Coen & Katsaitis, 2013). This means in combination that BIGs do not only have the best access to the EC, they are also actively use it. In the following I will outline my hypothesis that follows the theoretical framing and empirical evidence provided above.

H1: The relative bigger business lobby coalition will be more successful in stimulating the EC to translate their preferences into policy outcomes.

4. Method

4.1. Case Study Design

I will analyse my research question with a qualitative methodology approach. My tool will be a descriptive study of a concrete case concerning lobby coalitions within the European Commission. The selection is made due to the provision of raw data collected on the public consultation (PC).

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Details

Pages
16
Year
2018
ISBN (eBook)
9783668985032
Language
English
Catalog Number
v491865
Institution / College
University of Constance
Grade
1,3
Tags
european commission

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Title: Do business lobbying coalitions increase the lobby success of business interest groups in the European Commission?