By Adriana Bunea & Sergiu LipceanAbstract:
What explains the levels and diversity of stakeholder participation in public commenting on bureaucratic policymaking? We examine a novel dataset on a stakeholder engagement mechanism recently introduced by the European Commission containing information about 1258 events organised between 2016-2019. We highlight the importance of administrative acts’ characteristics and acknowledge the role of policy area type. Acts corresponding to early policy stages, broader in scope, less technical and more explicit about feedback loop rules, i.e., roadmaps, inception impact assessments and delegated acts, generate significantly more comments, from more diverse stakeholders, relative to legislative proposals and draft implementing acts. Regulatory and distributive policies generate significantly more comments than interior and foreign policies. Diversity is significantly higher in distributive policies but only relative to foreign policies. We contribute by showing the power of administrative acts in influencing stakeholder participation and diversity across decision stages and policy areas and shaping bias in interest representation.