Access, Information and the Strategic use of Committee Hearings

Working paper


The parties in the German Bundestag used to be generous in handing out access passes to lobbyists. In 2015, a court ruling forced the publication of who received and awarded these passes. In response to the forced transparency, policy-makers changed the rules of the game and dramatically reduced the number of access passes handed out to lobbyists. In this paper, I analyze the strategic reaction of policy-makers. I can show that after the reform, there are more representatives from interest groups invited to serve as experts in public hearings. The more groups were affected by the reform, the more likely they are invited to a public hearing by the party group which used to sponsor their access pass. At the same time, the number of experts per hearing goes up significantly.