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Choosing lobbying sides: the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union

  • Ece Özlem Atikcan (a1) (a2) and Adam William Chalmers (a1) (a2)


Despite the impressive amount of empirical research on lobbying, a fundamental question remains overlooked. How do interest groups choose to lobby different sides of an issue? We argue that how groups choose sides is a function of firm-level economic activity. By studying a highly salient regulatory issue, the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), and using a novel data set of lobbying activities, we reveal that a group’s main economic sector matters most. Firms operating in finance and retail face unique costs and are incentivised to lobby against the GDPR. However, these groups are outgunned by a large, heterogeneous group of firms with superior lobbying firepower on the other side of the issue.


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Cite this article: Atikcan EÖ, Chalmers AW. 2019. Choosing lobbying sides: the general data protection regulation of the European Union. Journal of Public Policy 39: 543–564,, doi:10.1017/S0143814X18000223



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Choosing lobbying sides: the General Data Protection Regulation of the European Union

  • Ece Özlem Atikcan (a1) (a2) and Adam William Chalmers (a1) (a2)


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