Skip to main content
×
×
Home

Open the door to more of the same? The development of interest group representation at the WTO

  • MARCEL HANEGRAAFF (a1), JAN BEYERS (a2) and CAELESTA BRAUN (a1)
Abstract

The openness of the World Trade Organization (WTO) towards non-state actors has led to much debate among scholars and practitioners. The objective of this paper is to add empirical knowledge to this ongoing debate. In particular, we examine the effects of allowing interest groups to participate at WTO Ministerial Conferences (MCs) during 1996–2009 by analyzing a novel dataset of 1992 interest organizations that attended seven MCs. The data we present demonstrate that, in contrast to what many expected, the WTO did not attract a more diverse population of interest groups since these organizations were allowed to participate at MCs. Moreover, we observe an increasing overrepresentation of some specific issue-related interests, especially agriculture, and a strong presence of Northern American and European interest organizations attending MCs. Another important observation is that MCs are not particularly dominated by business interests at the expense of NGOs (non-governmental organization), who are also consistently well represented at the WTO meetings. Yet, the high levels of volatility observed at the level of individual organizations suggests that, although it is rather easy to start lobbying at WTO MCs, only a relatively small number of interest organizations keep a long lobbying presence at this level.

Copyright
Corresponding author
*Email: marcel.hanegraaff@ua.ac.be
References
Hide All
Aaronson, S. A. (2001), Taking Trade to the Streets: The Lost History of Public Efforts to Shape Globalisation, Ann Arbor: The University of Michigan Press.
Alter, K. J. and Meunier, S. (2009), ‘The Politics of International Regime Complexity’, Perspectives on Politics, 7(1): 1324.
Baumgartner, F. R. and Leech, B. L. (1998), Basic Interests: The Importance of Groups in Politics and Political Science, Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
Baumgartner, F. R. and Leech, B. L. (2001), ‘Interest Niches and Policy Bandwagons: Patterns of Interest Group Involvement in National Politics’, Journal of Politics, 63(4): 11911213.
Becker, G. S. (1983), ‘A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence’, The Quarterly Journal of Economics, 98(3): 371400.
Berkhout, J. and Lowery, D. (2007), ‘Counting Organized Interests in the EU: A Comparison of Data Sources’, Journal of European Public Policy, 15(4): 489513.
Berkhout, J. and Lowery, D. (2011), ‘Short-Term Volatility in the EU Interest Community’, Journal of European Public Policy, 18(1): 116.
Berkman, M. B. (2001), ‘Legislative Professionalism and the Demand for Groups: The Institutional Context of Interest Population Density’, Legislative Studies Quarterly, 26(4): 661679.
Beyers, J. and Kerremans, B. (2007), ‘The Press Coverage of Trade Issues: A Comparative Analysis of Public Agenda-Setting and Trade Politics’, Journal of European Public Policy, 14(3): 269292.
Beyers, J., Eising, R., and Maloney, W. (2008), ‘Researching Interest Group Politics in Europe and Elsewhere: Much We Study, Little We Know?’, West European Politics, 31(6): 11031128.
Browne, W. P. (1990), ‘Organized Interests and Their Issue Niches: A Search for Pluralism in a Policy Domain’, Journal of Politics, 52(2): 477509.
Charnovitz, S. (2000), ‘Opening the WTO to Non-Governmental Interests’, Fordham International Law Journal, 24(1).
De Bièvre, D. and Hanegraaff, M. C. (2011), ‘Non-State Actors in Multilateral Trade Governance’, in Reinalda, B. (ed.), The Ashgate Research Companion to Non-State Actors, Aldershot: Ashgate Publisher.
Dunhoff, J. L. (1998), ‘The Misguided Debate over NGO Participation at the WTO’, Journal of International Economic Law, 1(3): 433456.
Dür, A. (2008), ‘Interest Groups in the European Union: How Powerful Are They?’, West European Politics, 31(6): 12121230.
Esty, D. C. (1998), ‘Non-Governmental Organizations at the World Trade Organization: Cooperation, Competition, or Exclusion’, Journal of International Economic Law, 1(1): 123147.
Esty, D. C. (2001), ‘The World Trade Organization Legitimacy Crisis’, World Trade Review, 1(1): 722.
Evans, P. B., Jacobson, H. K., and Putnam, R. D. et al. (eds.) (1993), Double-Edged Diplomacy: International Bargaining and Domestic Politics, Berkeley and Los Angeles: University of California Press.
Fried, J. (1997), ‘Globalization and International Law: Some thoughts for States and Citizens’, Queen's Law Journal, 23: 259274.
Goldstein, J. and Martin, L. L. (2000), ‘Legalization, Trade Liberalization, and Domestic Politics: A Cautionary Note’, International Organization, 54(3): 603632.
Gray, V. and Lowery, D. (1996), ‘A Niche Theory of Interest Representation’, The Journal of Politics, 58(1): 91111.
Grossman, G. M. and Helpman, E. (2001), Special Interest Politics, Cambridge and London: MIT Press.
Halpin, D. R. and Baxter, G. (2008), ‘Searching for ‘Tartan’ Policy Bandwagons: Mapping the Mobilization of Organized Interests in Public Policy', APSA 2009 Annual Meeting, Hynes Convention Center, Boston, MA.
Held, D. and McGrew, A. (2002), Governing Globalization: Power, Authority and Global Governance, Cambridge: Polity Press.
Keohane, R. O. and Nye, J. S. (2001), ‘The Club Model of Multilateral Cooperation and Problems of Democratic Legitimacy’, in Porter, R. B., Sauve, P., Subramanian, A., and Beviglia Zampetti, A. (eds.), Efficiency, Equity, Legitimacy: The Multinational Trading System at the Millennium, Washington, DC: The Brookings Institute Press.
Lowery, D. (2007), ‘Why Do Organized Interests Lobby? A Multi-Goal, Multi-Context Theory of Lobbying’, Polity, 39(1): 2954.
Lowery, D. and Gray, V. (1996), The Population Ecology of Interest Representation: Lobbying Communities in the American States, Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press.
Lowery, D., Poppelaars, C., and Berkhout, J. (2008a), ‘The European Union Interest System in Comparative Perspective: A Bridge too Far?’, West European Politics, 31(6): 12311252.
Lowery, D., Gray, V. and Monogan, J. (2008b), ‘The Construction of Interest Communities: Distinguishing Bottom-Up and Top-Down Models’, The Journal of Politics, 70(4): 11601176.
McGinnis, J. O. and Movsesian, M. L. (2004), ‘Against Global Governance in the WTO’, Harvard International Law Journal, 45: 353.
Messer, A., Berkhout, J., and Lowery, D. (2011), ‘The Density of the EU Interest System: A Test of the ESA Model’, British Journal of Political Science, 41(1): 161190.
Meunier, S. (2003), ‘Trade Policy and Political Legitimacy in the European Union’, Comparative European Politics, 1(1): 6790.
Narlikar, A. and Wilkinson, R. (2004), ‘Collapse at the WTO: A Cancun Post-Mortem’, Third World Quarterly, 25(3): 447460.
Nownes, A. J. (2004), ‘The Population Ecology of Interest Group Formation: Mobilizing for Gay and Lesbian Rights in the United States, 1950–98’, British Journal of Political Science, 34(1): 4967.
Nownes, A. J. (2010), ‘Density Dependent Dynamics in the Population of Transgender Interest Groups in the United States, 1964–2005’, Social Science Quarterly, 91(3): 689703.
Nownes, A. J. and Lipinski, D. (2005), ‘The Population Ecology of Interest Group Death: Gay and Lesbian Rights Interest Groups in the United States, 1945–98’, British Journal of Political Science, 35(2): 303319.
O'Brien, R. J., Goetz, A. M., and Williams, M. A. (2000), Contesting Global Governance. Multilateral Economic Institutions and Global Social Movements, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Odell, J. S. (2006), Negotiating Trade: Developing Countries in the WTO and NAFTA, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Olson, M. (1965), The Logic of Collective Action: Public Goods and the Theory of Groups, Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press.
Olson, M. (1982), The Rise and Decline of Nations, New Haven: Yale University Press.
Pauwelyn, J. (2002), ‘The Use of Experts in WTO Dispute Settlement’, The International and Comparative Law Quarterly, 51(2): 325364.
Pauwelyn, J. (2003), ‘How to win a WTO-dispute based on non-WTO Law: Questions of Jurisdiction and Merits’, Journal of World Trade, 37(6): 9971030.
Piewitt, M. (2010), ‘Participatory Governance in the WTO: How Inclusive Is Global Civil Society’, Journal of World Trade, 44(2): 467488.
Piewitt, M., Rodekamp, M., and Steffek, J. (2010), ‘Civil Society in World Politics: How Accountable are Transnational CSOs?’, Journal of Civil Society, 6(3): 237258.
Poppelaars, C. (2009a), Steering a Course between Friends or Foes: Why Bureaucrats interact with Interest Groups, Delft: Eburon.
Poppelaars, C. (2009b), ‘Corporatism or Lobbyism behind Dutch Dikes? Interest Representation in the Netherlands’, in McGrath, C. (ed.), Interest Groups and Lobbying, Volume II: Europe, Lewistone, NY: The Edwin Mellen Press.
Putnam, R. D. (1988), ‘Diplomacy and Domestic Politics: The Logic of Two-Level Games’, International Organization, 42(3): 427460.
Robertson, D. (2000), ‘Civil Society and the WTO’, World Economy, 23(9): 11191134.
Schattschneider, E. E. (1960), The Semi-Sovereign People: A Realist's View of Democracy in America, Hinsdale, ILL: The Dryden Press.
Scholte, J. A. (2000), ‘Civil society and Democratically Accountable Global Governance’, Government and Opposition, 39(2): 211233.
Scholte, J. A. (2004), ‘Civil Society and Democratically Accountable Global Governance’, Government and Opposition, 39(2): 211233.
Shaffer, G. C. (2001), ‘The World Trade Organization under Challenge: Democracy and the Law and Politics of the WTO's Treatment of Trade and Environment Matters’, Harvard Environmental Law Review, 25: 193.
Shaffer, G. C. (2003), Defending Interests: Public–Private Partnerships in WTO Litigation, Washington, DC: Brookings Institution Press.
Simmons, P. J. (1998), ‘Learning to Live with NGOs’, Foreign Policy, 112: 8296.
Smith, J. (2005), ‘Globalization and Transnational Social Movement Organizations’, in Davis, G. F., McAdam, D., Scott, R. W., and Zald, M. N. (eds.), Social Movements and Organization Theory, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Smith, J. (2006), ‘Social Movements and Multilateralism’, in Neuman, E., Thakur, R., and Tirman, J. (eds.), Multilateralism under Challenge? Power, International Order, and Structural Change, Tokyo: United Nations University Press.
Smith, J. and Weist, D. (2005), ‘The Uneven Geography of Global Civil Society: National and Global Influences on Transnational Association’, Social Forces, 84(2): 621652.
Smythe, E. and Smith, P. J. (2006), ‘Legitimacy, Transparency, and Information Technology: The World Trade Organizations in an Era of Contentious Trade Politics’, Global Governance, 12(1): 3153.
Spiro, P. J. (2000), ‘The New Sovereigntists: American Exceptionalism and Its False Prophets’, Foreign Affairs, 79(9): 912.
Steger, D. P. (2009), ‘The Future of the WTO: The Case for Institutional Reform’, Journal of International Economic Law, 12(4): 803833.
Steffek, J. and Kissling, C. (2006), ‘Civil Society Participation in International Governance: The UN and the WTO Compared’, TranState Working Papers, Bremen: University of Bremen.
Truman, D. B. (1951), The Governmental Process: Political Interests and Public Opinion, New York: Alfred A. Knopf.
Van den Bossche, P. (2008), ‘NGO Involvement in the WTO: A Comparative Perspective’, Journal of International Economic Law, 11(4): 717749.
Wonka, A., Baumgartner, F. R., Mahoney, C., and Berkhout, J. (2010), ‘Measuring the Size and Scope of the EU Interest Group Population’, European Union Politics, 11(3): 463476.
Young, A. R. and Peterson, J. (2006), ‘The EU and the New Trade Politics’, Journal of European Public Policy, 13(6): 795814.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

World Trade Review
  • ISSN: 1474-7456
  • EISSN: 1475-3138
  • URL: /core/journals/world-trade-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×

Metrics

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 5
Total number of PDF views: 128 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 427 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between September 2016 - 16th July 2018. This data will be updated every 24 hours.