Evaluating pluralism : diversity of interest groups’ policy demands and preference attainment in the European Commission’s open consultations : evidence from the eu environmental policy
Title: Evaluating pluralism : diversity of interest groups’ policy demands and preference attainment in the European Commission’s open consultations : evidence from the eu environmental policy
Author: BUNEA, Adriana
Series/Number: EUI MWP; 2014/03
How is the EU interest group system structured in terms of the aggregate distribution of interests groups’ policy preferences and levels of preference attainment? And, when examined from this perspective, to what extent should we adjust the commonly held view that the EU is a pluralist system in terms of interest representation and intermediation? The study addresses these questions by proposing a systematic, empirical investigation of the pluralist accounts based on two dimensions. The first dimension looks at policy issue characteristics and captures the plurality of preferences articulated by interest groups across issues. The second dimension captures levels of achieved preferences across different advocate types, with the aim of identifying any potential bias in terms of influence over policy outcomes in favour of some type of interests. The study examines EU lobbying in the context of EC environmental open consultations and develops three indexes measuring plurality within the EU interest group system. The empirical analysis shows that, at least in the area of environmental policy, the EU interest intermediation system does not fit a classic pluralist approach, but it is best described by what the study identifies as a constrained pluralist view. The findings indicate on average rather moderate levels of diversity of preferences articulated on issues, low to moderate levels of heterogeneity of policy preferences within interest type and a pattern of significantly higher levels of preference attainment on behalf of organizations representing business interests.
Subject: EU system of interest representation; European Commission; Open consultations; Policy
Type of Access: openAccess; openAccess