Who dances with whom? A quantitative and qualitative analysis of interest groups characteristics, access to state actors, and negotiation outcomes

Kassandra Birchler, Paula Castro
2013
Existing work in the area of multilateral environmental agreements has found that, on the international level, the amount of influence exerted by interest groups depends on these groups' level of activity during negotiations, the amount of groups present at the negotiations, and the interaction between these two factors. However, since in climate change negotiations interest groups do not have decision-making power, any influence exerted must be achieved by interaction with state actors. Using
more » ... tate actors. Using a two-level framework, we hence argue that certain interest groups work together with state actors at the national level, so that their positions are already similar when they are stated at the international level. While there is some qualitative work suggesting the importance of interest group and state interaction, there still exists no quantitative study that systematically examines which interest group characteristics ultimately promote access to state actors. Furthermore, the actual extent of influence exerted by interest groups on the final negotiation outcome has not been studied in the climate change negotiation context. To contribute to this research gap, this article first analyses what interest group characteristics make them gain access to state actors, and then explores the extent of actual influence these groups achieve on negotiation outcomes. We analyze written submissions to the UNFCCC on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to determine interest group and state positions, relying on the keyword-based software Wordfish, and use closeness of positions as a proxy for access to state actors. We then run multivariate regressions to test, which interest group features determine such access. In addition, to examine to what extent the interest groups were actually able to influence the negotiation outcomes, we trace the amount and content of text provided by interest groups in their written submissions that is taken up in country submissions and in the final decision text, with the help of the plagiarism software WCopyfind. Our descriptive and econometric analysis show that interest groups do have a discernable influence on country positions during the climate change negotiations. Work in progress, please do not cite. Comments and suggestions are welcome. Abstract Existing work in the area of multilateral environmental agreements has found that, on the international level, the amount of influence exerted by interest groups depends on these groups' level of activity during negotiations, the amount of groups present at the negotiations, and the interaction between these two factors. However, since in climate change negotiations interest groups do not have decision-making power, any influence exerted must be achieved by interaction with state actors. Using a two-level framework, we hence argue that certain interest groups work together with state actors at the national level, so that their positions are already similar when they are stated at the international level. While there is some qualitative work suggesting the importance of interest group and state interaction, there still exists no quantitative study that systematically examines which interest group characteristics ultimately promote access to state actors. Furthermore, the actual extent of influence exerted by interest groups on the final negotiation outcome has not been studied in the climate change negotiation context. To contribute to this research gap, this article first analyses what interest group characteristics make them gain access to state actors, and then explores the extent of actual influence these groups achieve on negotiation outcomes. We analyze written submissions to the UNFCCC on Carbon Capture and Storage (CCS) technology to determine interest group and state positions, relying on the keyword-based software Wordfish, and use closeness of positions as a proxy for access to state actors. We then run multivariate regressions to test, which interest group features determine such access. In addition, to examine to what extent the interest groups were actually able to influence the negotiation outcomes, we trace the amount and content of text provided by interest groups in their written submissions that is taken up in country submissions and in the final decision text, with the help of the plagiarism software WCopyfind. Our descriptive and econometric analysis show that interest groups do have a discernable influence on country positions during the climate change negotiations.
doi:10.5167/uzh-86832 fatcat:7i57k7doyzfbhibfbcrsqv656y