Brussels Versus the Beltway

Advocacy in the United States and the European Union

Christine Mahoney

"The use of a random sample of policy issues makes Mahoney's study the methodologically soundest one to date on several dimensions of EU lobbying."
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This book presents the first large-scale study of lobbying strategies and outcomes in the United States and the European Union, two of the most powerful political systems in the world. Every day, tens of thousands of lobbyists in Washington and Brussels are working to protect and promote their interests in the policymaking process. Policies emanating from these two spheres have global impacts—they set global standards, they influence global markets, and they determine global politics. Armed with extensive new data, Christine Mahoney challenges the conventional stereotypes that attribute any differences between the two systems to cultural ones—the American, a partisan and combative approach, and the European, a consensus-based one.

Mahoney draws from 149 interviews involving 47 issues to detail how institutional structures, the nature of specific issues, and characteristics of the interest groups combine to determine decisions about how to approach a political fight, what arguments to use, and how to frame an issue. She looks at how lobbyists choose lobbying tactics, public relations strategies, and networking and coalition activities. Her analysis demonstrates that advocacy can be better understood when we study the lobbying of interest groups in their institutional and issue context. This book offers new insights into how the process of lobbying works on both sides of the Atlantic.

Table of Contents


1: The U.S. and EU Political Systems

2. Explaining Advocacy

3. Researching Advocacy

4. Lobbying Positions

5. Argumentation

6. Lobbying Targets

7. Inside Lobbying Tactics

8. Outside Lobbying Tactics

9. Networking & Coalitions

10. Lobbying Success

Appendix: Case Description


"The use of a random sample of policy issues makes Mahoney's study the methodologically soundest one to date on several dimensions of EU lobbying."—Journal of Public Policy

"This path-breaking book leads us on a journey through the institutional structures and issue-related factors that shape the lobbying worlds of the United States and the European Union, showing us that the two are not as different as is commonly believed. We understand advocacy on both sides of the Atlantic better thanks to Mahoney’s work."—Beth L. Leech, Rutgers University

"There has of course been previous good work on lobbying in the US and in the EU—and indeed good work attempting comparison. What makes this volume a step change in the field is the way conventional argument is undermined by first selecting cases in a theoretically informed way and then engaging in large-scale interviewing that allows careful characterization of advocacy strategy and success. With hindsight research should always have been like this. Hard to imagine this won’t change future practice."—Grant Jordan, professor of politics, University of Aberdeen, Scotland

"For all too long, interest group scholars in Europe and the United States have been so profoundly separated in both method and theory that they could safely ignore each other. Brussels Versus the Beltway signals the end of this not-so-splendid isolation and the beginning of new era of comparative interest group scholarship."—David Lowery, Department of Public Administration, University of Leiden

"Brussels Versus the Beltway is an important, carefully crafted work that breaks new ground in both the study of the EU and of interest groups."—Jeffrey M. Berry, Tufts University


Supplemental Materials


About the Author

Christine Mahoney is an assistant professor at the Maxwell School of Syracuse University. Her research has been supported by a Fulbright Fellowship, a visiting position at the Free University of Brussels, and a position as visiting junior scholar at Oxford University.

272 pp., 6 x 9

Mar 2008

272 pp., 6 x 9

ISBN: 978-1-58901-203-5
Mar 2008

272 pp.

ISBN: 978-1-58901-282-0
Mar 2008

American Governance and Public Policy series
Gerard W. Boychuk, Karen Mossberger, and Mark C. Rom, Series Editors

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