Interest Representation in the IMCO Committee’s Amendments: The Influence of MEPs’ Political Ideology and Role in the Legislative Process
This study looks at the influence of MEPs’ political ideology and role in the legislative process on the representation of consumer and business interests in their legislative amendments. An original dataset containing 764 amendments by 71 MEPs across five legislative dossiers of the European Parliament’s IMCO committee was created by means of a structural qualitative amendment analysis. This data was subsequently used to test three literature-informed hypotheses by means of a simple linear regression analysis and a multinomial regression analysis. The hypothesized relation between MEPs’ political ideology and the interest representation in their amendments is confirmed, as the results indicate that left-wing oriented MEPs tend to favor consumer interests, whereas right-wing oriented MEPs are more inclined to support the industry. The hypotheses on the behavior of MEPs with different roles in the legislative process, however, are not supported, as no significant difference was found between rapporteurs, shadow rapporteurs, and ordinary committee members in the extent to which they balance different interests in their amendments. The results suggest that MEPs with a more influential role in the legislative process do not behave differently from other committee members in the way they support different interests in their amendments. This implies that rapporteurs may have larger policy discretion than expected thus far, which could be due to their information advantage vis-à-vis other committee members. Furthermore, a qualitative analysis of the amending process of two of IMCO’s legislative dossiers corroborates the assumption that MEPs’ amendments are strongly based on information provided by interest groups, thereby confirming MEPs’ reliance on interest groups for their information supply.