Lobby profiles

Creating a map of actors and their leanings is important for policy makers and stakeholders in the European Commission's `Better regulation agenda'. We explore publicly available information about the European lobby organizations from the Transparency Register, and from the open public consultations in the area of Banking and Finance. We analyze three aspects of lobbying organizations: (i) their formal categorization in the Transparency Register, (ii) their self-declared goals and activities, and (iii) their responses to the public consultations. We consider responses to the consultations as the best indicator of an actual leaning of an individual lobbyist. We partition and cluster the lobby organizations according to their demonstrated interests and similarities of their responses. Thus each lobby organization is assigned a profile which shows its prevailing interest in consultations' topics, similar organizations in interests and responses, and a prototypical question and answer. We combine methods from information retrieval, text mining, and network analysis to obtain these profiles. We find that constructing a similarity network based on preference patterns adds a crucial dimension in the understanding of how lobby organizations engage in the policy making process.

We implemented the Lobby Profile Explorer, an interactive web application that supports exploration of the 565 lobby organizations. It presents a similarity network of the lobby organizations that responded to the 21 public consultations in the area of Banking and Finance. The implemented visualization has a variety of features, supporting in-depth exploration of the lobby network and pairwise comparison of the lobby profiles.