Information or context: what accounts for positional proximity between the European Commission and lobbyists?

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Series Details Vol.22, No.4, April 2015, p570-587
Publication Date April 2015
ISSN 1350-1763
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Why are legislative proposals closer to the positions of some organized interests than others? The literature proposes that policy-makers are attentive to the demands of lobbyists that provide relevant information. At the same time, being part of a policy community is also claimed to enable lobbyists to shape policy formulation. We argue that both factors reinforce each other: informational resources are particularly effective in reducing the gap between the Commission's policy position and the position of lobbyists if both actors are part of the same policy community. Analysing data on over 100 policy issues in the European Union, we find that the context of a friendly Directorate-General reinforces the effectiveness of lobbyists’ informational resources. However, on its own, a context of friendly relations between the policy-maker and the lobbyist contrib­utes little to explaining why the European Commission's policy position is closer to some actors than to others.

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