Lobbyists, Governments and Public Trust, Volume 2

Promoting Integrity through Self-regulation

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This second volume of OECD's study on lobbying examines regulation and self-regulation of lobbying. It includes chapters defining and examining lobbying, describing the role of professional lobbying associations, exploring various codes of conduct and examining specific codes in various countries, examining lobbyists' attitudes toward regulation and self-regulation, and exploring various options for enhancing transparency and accountability.



Private Interests, Public Conduct: The Essence of Lobbying

This chapter shows how the lobbying profession arrived at a crossroads. Lobbying has undeniable impact on the democratic principles of equality, accountability, informed consent and participation. Lobbyists provide expertise and insights to government officials, and translate information from scientific data to public opinions into understandable terms. Lobbying can also serve well-financed special interests with adverse impact on public policies. Research shows that the public’s trust in government in general, and lobbying in particular, has fallen to critical lows in many countries. When asked to rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in various professions in a 2008 Gallup poll, lobbyists ranked the lowest in public integrity (5%) along with telemarketers and used car salesmen.Recognising the complexity of the lobbying phenomenon, this chapter focuses on the essence of lobbying and discusses the advantages of an objective and empirical definition of lobbying and lobbyists. It also highlights the connection between lobbying and the behavioural phenomenon of the reciprocity principle, and the cost/benefits of lobbying practices. This chapter explains how valuable the return can be, for example USD 1.2 billion in one case – a ratio of about 1:100. As a result, the regulation of lobbying and undue influence-peddling has become a major concern for both governments and the lobbying profession.


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