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Organised interest representation and the European Parliament

Marshall, David J. (2012) Organised interest representation and the European Parliament. PhD thesis, London School of Economics and Political Science.

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This thesis is comprised of three papers, each making a distinctive theoretical and empirical contribution to our understanding of interest representation within the European Parliament (EP). The papers are unified by two assumptions: first, the strategic behaviour of organised interests is significantly determined by the distribution of legislative influence, and second, the opportunity to become influential is a function of the EP’s decision-making rules. Each paper addresses a different aspect of this opportunity structure, which together provides a coherent explanation of the link between lobbying and the EP’s decision-making process. In so doing, insights are provided into the distribution of legislative influence within the EP and the legitimacy of the European Union’s policy process. The first paper explains how organised interests’ strategic behaviour is considerably altered in response to changes in the political opportunity structure afforded by each phase of the committee process. The second paper presents and tests a theory of indirect lobbying of the rapporteur. Here the institutional context is shown to be such that rapporteurs come to rely upon officials from their committee’s secretariat for relatively independent policy advice. But the policy expertise required by officials to carry out this role turns out to be endogenously derived from amongst the same lobbyists whose informational submissions the rapporteur seeks to verify. The final paper draws on longitudinal survey data to assess the impact of institutional rules and European party group membership, in the context of uncertainty amongst lobbyists as to whether their most closely aligned large party group will form part of a given legislative majority. This uncertainty provides an incentive for organised interests to lobby MEPs from opposing party groups in addition to more natural allies. But crucially, in performing this action lobbyists defer to their hard-wired principle and lobby the most closely aligned members from the otherwise unfriendly party.

Item Type: Thesis (PhD)
Additional Information: © 2012 David J. Marshall
Library of Congress subject classification: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Sets: Departments > Government
Supervisor: Hix, Simon

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