Beate Kohler-Koch
Explaining convergence and variations in EU lobbying

Panel: Comparative interest group research in the EU – theory and methodology
20 S.

The paper presents the analytical outline of a research project that intends to capture and explain differences in EU lobby strategies and in the adaptive potential of associations to changes in their environment. We want to know how business associations and general interest groups organize and have reorganize their structures and lobbying strategies in order to have the best possible impact on EU policies. The core argument is that associations have to pay tribute equally to the “logic of membership” and to “the logic of influence” which means that they have to respond to the properties of their membership and of the governance system of the EU. As we want to arrive at general explanations we have started a large-N research project that is comprehensive in terms of policy sectors and issue areas and covers business associations in the four big EU member states Germany, France, Poland, and the United Kingdom and at the EU level. Since the survey will be a replication of a survey we did 10 years ago, we also will be able to make a comparison across time. Further, we will compare business interest associations (BIA) and non-governmental organisations (NGO). A separate paper addresses the problems entailed in diachronic survey research which has to consider changes in context conditions while keeping the questionnaire as constant as possible.