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The Power of Political Networks: Modelling Industry Lobbying in the UK Banking Reform Process

21 April 2015

Time: 1:00 - 2:00pm
Venue: Francis Bancroft Building, Rm 3.27, Mile End Campus
Speaker: Dr Scott James (KCL)

This paper seeks to contribute to our understanding of political networks. It sets out to explain why organisations collaborate in the lobbying process and how this is used to leverage their influence. It does so by analysing the inter-organisational political network surrounding the UK banking reform process between 2010-2011. The analysis proceeds in two parts. First, we use Social Network Analysis (SNA) to identify potentially powerful agents based on their structural position within the network of relations. In-depth interviews with the main participants are used to explain the engagement of these actors in the policy process and to assess their relative influence in shaping policy outcomes. Our empirical findings reveal important differences in the lobbying strategies, policy preferences and perceived influence of the main banks, trade associations and regulatory authorities involved. Second, an Exponential Random Graph Model (ERGM) is used to examine the relationship between network structure and agency attributes. The paper tests four hypotheses to explain why certain actors are better connected than others. It suggests that while network centrality is positively correlated with issue salience and leadership, it is negatively correlated with trust and utility loss: an outcome which is significant for our understanding of lobbying networks.
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