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Lobbying strategies and success: Inside and outside lobbying in European Union legislative politics

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  25 October 2018

Iskander De Bruycker
Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium
Jan Beyers*
Department of Political Science, University of Antwerp, Antwerp, Belgium


In their pursuit of political influence, interest groups face the choice to contact policy elites directly or to generate pressure indirectly by appealing to the public at large. This article examines whether interest groups should prioritize inside or outside lobbying tactics in order to materialize their policy objectives, with a specific focus on European Union legislative policymaking. This article demonstrates that outside lobbying is not inherently more or less successful than inside lobbying; rather, the effect of inside or outside lobbying is conditional on the extent to which additional lobbying tactics are adopted and on the type of policy issues a lobbyist seeks to influence. The empirical approach of this article consists of an extensive media analysis and over 200 interviews with policy practitioners active on 78 policy proposals. The results indicate that outside lobbying leads to policy success when the lobbyist’s policy position enjoys popular endorsement within media debates and when the lobbyist engages in a coalition with other organized interests.

Research Article
© European Consortium for Political Research 2018 

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