European Journal of Political Research vol:43 issue:3 pages:337-369
The aim of this article is to test empirically a theory of access that investigates the logic behind the apparent ad hoc lobbying behavior of business interests in the European Union (EU) multi-level system. First, a theoretical framework is set out that attempts to explain the access of different organizational forms of business interest representation – companies, associations and consultants – to the European Commission, the European Parliament and the Council of Ministers. The degree of access to these institutions is explained in terms of a theory of the supply and demand of access goods. Access goods concern information that is crucial in the EU policy-making process. In return for access to an EU institution, business interests have to provide the access good(s) demanded by that institution. A number of specific hypotheses about access are analyzed in an extensive empirical study of the EU financial services sector. On the basis of 126 exploratory and semi-structured interviews, the hypotheses are checked across the three EU institutions.