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Votes and Lobbying in the European Decision-Making Process: Application to the European Regulation on GMO Release

Abstract

The paper presents a multi-agent model simulating a two-level public decision game in which politicians, voters and interest groups interact. The objective is to model the political market for influence at the domestic level and at the international level, and to assess how new consultation procedures affect the final decision. It is based on public choice theory as well as on political science findings. We consider in this paper that lobbying groups have different strategies for influencing voters and decision-makers, with long-term and short-term effects. Our computational model enables us to represent the situation as an iterative process, in which past decisions have an impact on the preferences and choices of agents in the following period. In the paper, the model is applied to the European decision-making procedure for authorizing the placing on the market of Genetically Modified Organisms (GMO). It illustrates the political links between public opinions, lobbying groups and elected representatives at the national scale in the 15 country members, and at the European scale. It compares the procedure which was defined by the European 1990/220 Directive in 1990 with the new procedure, the 2001/18 Directive, which replaced it in 2001. The objective is to explore the impact of the new decision rules and the reinforced public participation procedures planned by the 2001/18 Directive on the lobbying efficiency of NGOs and biotechnology firms, and on the overall acceptability of the European decision concerning the release of new GMOs on the European territory.Lobbying, Europe, GMO, Multi-Agent Simulation, Public Choice, Politician, Voter, Group Contest

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