Regulating the audit market in the European Union: who dominates, who loses?

Armin Mertens (University of Cologne)

Given the large number of interest groups that vie for the attention of decision-makers in EU institutions, questions surrounding which groups tend to succeed in translating their concerns into legislative text continue to be hotly debated among observers of EU policy-making. In his article “Regulating the audit market in the European Union: who dominates, who loses?” published in the Journal of European Public Policy, Armin Mertens offers a novel approach on how to empirically study the influence different interest groups exert on EU policy-making. Rather than analysing interest groups’ preference attainment across different policies, Armin splits the text of a single piece of legislation on the EU’s audit market regulation into its constituent issues and evaluates interest groups’ success in getting their issue-specific concerns across. Further, instead of assuming that business groups voice homogenous interests, he distinguishes between large firms and small and medium-sized enterprises. Armin argues that these refinements in measuring interest groups’ influence are warranted, as his empirical results present a more nuanced picture than what existing research would have us expect. Armin’s analysis shows that “a general statement about the success of specific interest groups across all issues is difficult to make: interest group success in preference attainment depends heavily on issue salience and the size of issue-specific policy coalitions.”