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Title: Interest groups, influence, and the European Commission : identifying reliable providers of information
Author: Catterall , Emma Ruth
ISNI:       0000 0004 5994 9376
Awarding Body: Queen's University Belfast
Current Institution: Queen's University Belfast
Date of Award: 2015
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The question of influence in interest group research has fascinated and frustrated researchers in equal measure. Access has often been used as a precondition of influence, whereby the more access an interest group has to the policy-making process, the more opportunities for influence it will have. Consequently, this operationalisation has focused on the frequency or amount of access that interest groups attain; yet, this neglects the quality of those interactions as well as the quality of information that interest groups provide. Information is key in translating access into influence and the theoretical literature emphasises the importance for interest groups to establish reputations as reliable providers of policy-relevant information. However, this concept has rarely been investigated in empirical research. The aim of this thesis was to investigate reliable providers of information (RPls) to the Commission during EU policy formulation and assess whether RPI status could provide an improved predictor of influence than measures based on frequency alone, A large-N survey of interest groups active in EU policy-making was undertaken to test the predictor power of RPI status compared with contact frequency and information provision. Additionally, the resources and characteristics that underpin an interest groups' ability to achieve RPI Status were investigated. The findings demonstrate that RPI status predicts interest group influence to a greater degree than contact frequency and information provision. Moreover, this thesis identifies two distinct categories of interest groups with RPI status. One of these groups consists of reliable rather than frequent and reliable providers of information. Research that focuses on frequency alone will overlook this significant group. Moreover, by focusing on the quality of interest groups' interactions with policy-makers and the quality of information they provide, this research has contributed towards closing the gap between the theoretical and empirical literature on interest group influence.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available