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

Patrick Bernhagen, Andreas Dür, David Marshall

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

32 Citations (Scopus)
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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.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)570-587
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number4
Early online date19 Feb 2015
Publication statusPublished - 2015

Bibliographical note

We thank Dominic Pakull for research assistance and Joost Berkhout, Jan Beyers, Caelesta Braun and Heike Klu¨ver for helpful comments on earlier versions of this contribution. Without the many respondents in the European Commission that were willing to be interviewed, this research would not have been possible. We also acknowledge financial support from the Austrian
Science Fund (FWF), project number I 576-G16. This research is part of the INTEREURO project (


  • EU Commission
  • information
  • institutional
  • context
  • lobbying
  • policy communities
  • spatial analysis


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