Balancing inside and outside lobbying: The political strategies of lobbyists at global diplomatic conferences

Marcel Hanegraaff, Jan Beyers*, Iskander De Bruycker

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review


This article seeks to explain the use of inside and outside lobbying by organised interests at global diplomatic conferences. At first sight, the lobbying at these venues is puzzling as it does not seem to be a very fruitful way to acquire influence. The use of outside strategies especially is perplexing because most aspects of international negotiations fall outside of the purview of national constituencies. It is argued in this article, however, that the presence of outside lobbying is not so puzzling if lobbying is seen both as a way to attain influence and as a way to pursue organisational maintenance goals. Empirically, the article draws on interview data with 232 interest group representatives that participated at either the 2012 session of the World Trade Organization (WTO) Ministerial Conference in Geneva, or the 2011 (Durban) and 2012 (Doha) United Nations Climate Conferences. The analysis demonstrates that organisational needs, and especially the competition actors face in obtaining resources, significantly affects the relative focus of organised interests on inside and outside lobbying.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)568-588
Number of pages21
JournalEuropean Journal of Political Research
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - Aug 2016
Externally publishedYes


  • interest groups
  • outside lobbying
  • transnational advocacy
  • WTO Ministerial Conferences
  • UN Climate Conferences
  • BIAS

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