Interest group success in the European Union: When (and why) does business lose?

Andreas Dür, Patrick Bernhagen, David Marshall

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Business lobbying is widespread in the European Union (EU). But because not all lobbying is successful, the question arises: when does business win and when does it lose in the context of legislative policy-making in the EU? We argue that business actors are, overall, less successful than citizen groups in the European
policy process. However, they can protect their interests if interest group conflict is low or the role of the European Parliament is restricted. A new dataset on the positions of more than one thousand non-state actors with respect to 70 legislative acts proposed by the European Commission between 2008 and 2010 allows us to evaluate this argument. Empirical support for our expectations is highly robust. Our findings have implications for the literature on legislative decision-making in the EU and for research on non-state actors in international organizations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)951-983
Number of pages33
JournalComparative Political Studies
Issue number8
Early online date20 Jan 2015
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jul 2015

Bibliographical note

We thank Joost Berkhout, Jan Beyers, Michael Blauberger, John Constantelos, Heike Klüver, Sven-Oliver Proksch, and Kevin Young for helpful comments on earlier versions of this article. Dominic Pakull offered helpful research assistance. Without the many respondents in the European Commission who were willing to be interviewed, this research would not have been possible.

The authors disclosed receipt of the following financial support for the research,
authorship, and/or publication of this article: Austrian Science Fund (FWF), Project Number I 576-G16.


  • business and politics
  • European Union
  • interest groups
  • lobbying success


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