Interests, strategies and institutions : lobbying in the pharmaceutical industry of the European Union.
The dissertation proposes an institutional explanation of the lobbying strategies private actors
employ to influence European Union decision-making. Its main argument is that lobbying
strategies are allowed and constrained by a configuration of institutions. In order to
understand what makes political actors adopt certain lobbying strategies, it is essential to
examine a multi-layered institutional set up: European, sectoral and issue-specific. At these
levels of analysis, identifiable institutions affect the way in which collective action is
organised, the lobbying tactics employed, and the political institutions lobbyists target.
The dissertation is based on a survey of pharmaceutical firms in five Member States, and on a
detailed examination of four lobbying campaigns conducted by the pharmaceutical industry
in Europe between 1988-1998. The survey's findings and an analysis of the campaigns reveal
that the legal environment, the balance of power between European Union institutions, the
sector characteristics, and the nature of the policy community, are the institutions that affect
lobbying strategies in the pharmaceutical sector. These institutions affect lobbying by setting
the boundaries within which political action is allowed, by determining the saliency of
different types of resources, by providing lobbyists with information about the lobbying
options open to their rivals, and by imposing a learning process on lobbyists.