This book analyzes the influence of business in democratic politics. Advice from business actors regularly carries more weight with policymakers than other interests because it refers to the core of the state-market nexus in democratic capitalism: the consequences for voters and policymakers of harming business and the economy. The book examines the resulting informational and structural constraints on public policymaking and their strategic use by business lobbyists.
While the role of information is frequently acknowledged in studies on business political influence, very few empirical analyses of its strategic use exist. This book outlines a theoretical model of the role of information and its asymmetric supply for business actors’ ability to influence policy. Focusing on banking regulation and environmental politics, the informational–structural view of business power is evaluated empirically in a cross-national, multi-level research design involving case studies as well as quantitative analyses of elite survey data and policy outcomes in advanced capitalist democracies.
Patrick Bernhagen suggests that, while democracy in capitalist society is vulnerable to a pro-business policy bias, better informed policymakers can redress the balance of power with business and improve on bringing policies in line with public preferences. His analysis identifies the institutional and behavioural factors affecting business’ informational power. The Political Power of Business will be of particular interest to students and researchers of political science, policymaking and business studies.
Tables and Figures
Linking Action and Structure: The Power of Being Informed
Approach and Methods
Key Terms and Concepts
Structure of the Book
2 GROUPS, INSTITUTIONS, NETWORKS, IDEOLOGY, OR STRUCTURAL DEPENDENCE: WHAT DRIVES BUSINESS POWER?
Pluralism and the Study of Business as an Interest Group
Neocorporatist Systems and Coordinated Market Economies
The Analysis of Elite Networks and Policy Communities
Structural Explanations of Business Dominance
3 AN INFORMATIONAL–STRUCTURAL MODEL OF BUSINESS POWER
Informational Asymmetries Between Business Actors and Policymakers
Signalling Models of Lobbying
Reputation and Lobbying
4 TWO REAL-WORLD SIGNALLING GAMES
A Note on Case Selection
Regulation of Small Business Banking in England and Wales
Phasing out PVC from Public Construction in Hesse
5 REPUTATION AND INFORMATIVENESS IN LOBBYING
Data: The 1996 European Members of Parliament Study
Lobbying, Reputation Costs, and Ideological Proximity
Business Contacts and Influential Lobbying
6 STRUCTURE, INFORMATION, AND ENVIRONMENTAL REGULATION
Business Preferences on Environmental Regulation
Dowsing Flooded Fields for Underground Water
Measuring Structural Constraints and Information Asymmetry
Sources and Limits of Business Power: International Trade, Neocorporatism and Eco Groups
7 CONCLUSIONS: INFORMATION, STRUCTURE, AND THE PROSPECTS FOR DEMOCRACY UNDER CAPITALISM
Informational Asymmetry in the Repertoire of Political Recourses
Outlook: Can Policymakers’ Information Problems Be Alleviated?
Appendix A: Interviews and Personal Communications
Appendix B: Coding and Data Sources of Variables Used in Ch. 5
Appendix C: Coding, Data Sources and Summary Statistics of Variables Used in Ch. 6
Appendix D: Jack-knifed Estimates of Regression Models in Ch. 6