Timing is Everything: Organized Interests and the Timing of Legislative Activity

Dimiter Toshkov, Dave Lowery, Brendan Carroll and Joost Berkhout

Interest Groups and Advocacy (2013), vol.2, issue 1, pp.48-70


Different perspectives on the role of organized interests in democratic politics imply different temporal sequences in the relationship between legislative activity and the influence activities of organized interests. Unfortunately, lack of data has greatly limited any kind of detailed examination of this temporal relationship. We address this problem by taking advantage of the chronologically very precise data on lobbying activity provided by the door pass system of the European Parliament and data on EU legislative activity collected from EURLEX. After reviewing the several different theoretical perspectives on the timing of lobbying and legislative activity, we present a time series analysis of the co-evolution of legislative output and interest groups for the period 2005–2011. Our findings show that, contrary to what pluralist and neo-corporatist theories propose, interest groups neither lead nor lag bursts in legislative activity in the European Union.


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