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The rise in inequality has been explained with reference to organized groups and the lobbying of the financial sector. This article argues that the image of politics as organized combat is contradicted by empirical evidence on lobbying in the United States, and does not travel well to Europe. The power of finance does not operate through organized political influence. Rather, politics in the interest of capital unfolds as a structural feature of advanced economies over time. Tellingly, at the height of the financial crisis, one of the most promising strategies of institutions seeking government support was not organizing for combat, but collective inaction. Our challenge, then, is to explain how the power of finance has built up and is playing out in creating inequality. A more structural, less agency-focused perspective highlights how the rise of finance has been supported by actors that few would accuse of being finance-friendly, such as the European center-left parties and consumers. Reconceptualizing the power of finance has important implications for political solutions to rising inequality.

Le débat sur la suppression de l’École nationale d’administration est d’autant plus vif qu’il se situe à la convergence de plusieurs enjeux : principes de la méritocratie, ascension sociale, fonctionnement de l’administration publique, réseaux d’influence et rentes professionnelles que procurent les grands corps. D’autres modèles existent chez nos voisins. Une comparaison avec l’Allemagne éclaire le rôle que peut jouer l’université dans la formation de la haute fonction publique. [Premier paragraphe]

in World Politics Review Publié en 2014-07
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The financial industry is commonly described as one of the most influential in politics. The numbers certainly support this impression. In terms of lobbying expenditures in the United States, the banking sector outspent even the health care sector. Few industries have comparable resources available and have been able to establish such a strong institutional presence. In many countries, top bankers and high-ranking public officials meet frequently; revolving doors between the two worlds are common; and the technical complexity of financial regulation makes consultation with the industry at all levels of decision-making a necessity. Accordingly, commentators in the media and academia warn about conflicts of interest and undue influence. [First paragraph]

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Lobbying on both sides of the Atlantic has experienced a considerable boom in the last 50 years and one could be led to believe that the two industries look increasingly alike. Lobbyists have become highly professionalized and master a multitude of venues and levels of political authority. Direct representation of companies or other stakeholders co-exists with associational representation in both Washington DC and Brussels, even though peak associations play a greater role in Europe. The use of some instruments is different, however, in particular financial contributions and legal tactics, which are central in the United States (US) and much less common in the European Union (EU). What is more, observers of lobbying in the US and the EU have noted the markedly different lobbying styles: frequently aggressive advocacy approach in the US and a more consensus-oriented informational lobbying in the EU. While US groups and lobbyists oftentimes defend their immediate interest by trying to exert pressure on public officials, EU representatives seem to be more soft-spoken in their approach and are said to work in a more constructive manner with bureaucratic and political representatives. After developing a description of what makes up the respective styles, this article discusses cultural and institutional explanations cited in the literature. Rather than seeing lobbying styles as culture traits, it discusses the institutional constraints affecting lobbying behavior. In particular, the passage rate of proposals, the fragmentation of public media, the electoral structure and the transparency of political negotiations create different incentive structures in the US and the EU. However, lobbying styles are more than the cumulative effect of these different elements. They are linked to the nature of the political system, of which the institutional constraints are a reflection. The US, a fully established federal system, relies on majority decision-making. This creates an adversarial culture and ‘winner-takes-all-politics’. The EU, by contrast, functions as a complex inter-governmental system with a high degree of supranational centralization. The resulting tension between integration and inter-state bargaining creates a system that relies on consensus-building. In this context, the access of private actors to supranational institutions depends on their contribution to the creation of problem-solving policy approaches. As long as the EU has to rely on the acceptance of its policy outputs for its legitimacy, we are bound to find many individual mechanisms that will trigger a more soft-spoken lobbying style in the EU. The differences between the US and the EU styles will thus appear as instances of a particular political culture, even though they are based on a range of institutional mechanisms, which are in turn a consequence of the construction of the respective political system. In conclusion, the article discusses the implications of this distinction for understanding change over time.

in Journal of European Public Policy Publié en 2012-04
CLIFT Ben
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We analyse how tensions between international market integration and spatially limited political mandates have led to the phenomenon of economic patriotism. As discrimination in favour of insiders, economic patriotism goes beyond economic nationalism and can include territorial allegiances at the supranational or the local level. We show how this prism helps to understand the evolution of political intervention in open economies and present the ambition of this collection.

Sous la direction de CLIFT Ben, WOLL Cornelia Publié en 2012-12
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The recent financial crisis has demonstrated that governments continuously seek to steer their economies rather than leaving them to free markets. Despite the ambitions of international economic cooperation, such interventionism is decidedly local. Some politicians even proudly evoke "economic patriotism" to justify their choices. This volume links such populism to a specific set of tensions – the paradox of neo-liberal democracy – and argues that the phenomenon is ubiquitous. The mandate of politicians is to defend the economic interests of their constituents under conditions where large parts of economic governance are no longer exclusively within their control. Economic patriotism is one possible reaction to this tension. As old-style industrial policy and interventionism gained a bad reputation, governments had to become creative to assure traditional economic policy objectives with new means. However, economic patriotism is more than just a fashionable word or a fig leaf for protectionism. This volume employs the term to signal two distinctions: the diversity of policy content and the multiplicity of territorial units it can refer to. Comparing economic interventionism across countries and sectors, it becomes clear that economic liberalism will always be accompanied by counter-movements that appeal to territorial images. This book was published as a special issue of the Journal of European Public Policy. (Résumé éditeur)

in Review of International Political Economy Publié en 2013-11
JOHNSON Juliet
MÜGGE Daniel
SEABROOKE Leonard
GRABEL Ilene
GALLAGHER Kevin
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An anniversary issue provides an inescapably inviting opportunity to reflect on the past, evaluate the present, and contemplate the future. Eschewing the self-congratulatory rhetoric of traditional anniversary celebrations, we have devoted this 20th anniversary issue of RIPE to contributions that critically examine the academic discipline of international political economy, focusing on our collective challenges and limitations as much as on our achievements. As every author knows, it is the thoughtful, constructive, and above all critical review that ultimately pushes us to produce better scholarly work. The global financial crisis mandates such a reassessment, as did the fall of communism that birthed this journal. [First paragraph]

in Jahrbuch der Europäischen Integration 2006 Sous la direction de WEIDENFELD Werner, WESSELS Wolfgang Publié en 2006
WOLL Cornelia
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Viel ist passiert im vergangen Jahr. Durch die Krise der europäischen Verfassung ist die Kluft zwischen Bürgern und europäischen Institutionen in den Blick der Öffentlichkeit geraten. Für die Europäische Kommission war dies ein Anlass, politische Partizipation und Interessen- vertretung vermehrt zu fördern, sie gleichzeitig aber auch kritisch zu überprüfen. In diesem Sinne zielt das im Februar 2006 vorgelegte Weißbuch über eine europäische Kommunikations- politik auf eine stärkere Einbeziehung der Zivilgesellschaft in den politischen Prozess. Vor dem Hintergrund des amerikanischen Skandals um den Lobbyisten Jack Abramoff versucht die EU aber zu vermeiden, dass die Offenheit des politischen Prozesses zu Missbrauch durch Inte- ressenvertreter führt. Somit ist die verstärkte Kontrolle von Lobbying in der EU Teil der im Mai 2006 vorgelegten Transparenzinitiative der Kommission. Der Konsultationsprozess zu diesen beiden Vorschlägen und die Debatte um die möglichen Konsequenzen zunehmender Regulierung von Interessenvertretung zeigen, wie sehr politische Partizipation von Schlüsse- lakteuren und Zivilgesellschaft ins Zentrum der europäischen Reforminitiativen gerückt sind.

The national association of French employers and industry, MEDEF, seems to be an example of strong and unifi ed interest organization, especially since its reform in 1998. Through a study of the collective action of fi rms in France, this article sheds doubt on such an impression. In fact, a central employers’ and industry association only constituted itself in France in response to state and trade union activism and struggled throughout history once these external threats lost importance. Like all encompassing business associations, MEDEF comprises a great variety of groups of business actors and constantly has to manage its internal interest heterogeneity. An analysis of the historical and institutional context of its latest reform demonstrates that the recent media campaign should not be understood as a display of actual strength and coherence; rather it is the last resort of collective action that MEDEF can claim legitimately as its responsibility.

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