The Politics of Persuasion

The Politics of Persuasion

Should Lobbying be Regulated in the EU?

Urs S. Brandt and Gert T. Svendsen

The EU is at a crossroads. Should it choose the path towards protectionism or the path towards free trade? This book convincingly argues that lobbying regulation will be a decisive first step towards fulfilling the European dream of free trade, in accordance with the original purpose of the Treaty of Rome. Without the regulation of lobbyists to try and prevent undue political persuasion, there is a greater risk of abuse in the form of corruption, subsidies and trade barriers, which will come at the expense of consumers, tax payers and competitiveness.

Chapter 5: Green industries, switch points and first-movers

Urs S. Brandt and Gert T. Svendsen

Subjects: economics and finance, public choice theory, politics and public policy, european politics and policy, public choice, regulation and governance


Chapter 5 introduced a tentative case study of green industries in the European Union (EU) as illustrative of the potential effect of lobbying. We showed how differences in lobbying activity may have influenced the performance of two similar industries. The wind turbine industry, for example, benefits from ambitious environmental target levels for greenhouse gas (GHG) emissions reductions that will increase the future market for renewable energy. In contrast, for example, no environmental target levels exist to increase the future market shares of organic farming. Rational choice theory suggests that lobbying and group size advantages could explain the observed difference in achieving environmental target levels. In relation to product development, a rational lobbying strategy could be to lobby for an accelerated shift or switch point from subsidizing green production, and at the same time taxing non-green producers, thus reducing competition in the early stages of development. One possible reason why wind is doing better than organic farming in terms of solving the collective action problem could be the variation in group size and concentrated economic net gains for individual group members.

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