More business as usual? Explaining business bias across issues and institutions in the European Union

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Series Details Volume 26, Number 6, Pages 843-862
Publication Date June 2019
ISSN 1350-1763 (print) | 1466-4429 (online)
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Business interest groups numerically dominate the European Union (EU) interest group communities. However, scholars note that the relative proportion of business interests varies by either the institutional venue or the policy issue. Exchange-theoretical approaches emphasize the distinct informational needs of policy-makers at different venues, hereby favoring business actors to a varying degree. Other scholars emphasize the importance of conflict and argue that containment or expansion of conflict on concrete policy issues shapes the relative presence of business interest representatives.

We simultaneously test both hypotheses comparing interest group activities on seventy issues observed in the European Parliament, the European Commission and in the EU media. We find little differences between the EU venues in terms of the interests represented. Rather, the salience and scope of issues seem more important denominators for variation in business lobby activity.

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