There is life after the Commission: An empirical analysis of private interest representation by former EU-commissioners, 1981–2009

  • Roland VaubelEmail author
  • Bernhard Klingen
  • David Müller


Our sample includes 92 former EU commissioners who left the seven Commissions serving from 1981 to 2009. We find that 36 (39%) became private interest representatives after leaving the Commission—14 with registered institutions, 22 with non-registered institutions. Our probit analysis shows that an ex-commissioner is significantly more likely to turn lobbyist if he or she is still young and has been in charge of competition, the internal market, industry or taxation. At the 10% level of significance, the probability is lower if the commissioner has been proposed by a left wing government, has stepped down after the introduction of the code of conduct (1999) or has retired from the Delors I Commission, and the probability is higher for commissioners from central Europe. The descriptive statistics reveal in addition that the share of private interest representatives in all ex-commissioners is largest for Portuguese, Austrian, Bulgarian and Maltese commissioners and zero for Scandinavians. With regard to the commissioners’ training, 48% of the lawyers but only 35% of the economists have become lobbyists. Commissioners who have turned private interest representatives have on average stayed somewhat longer (6.3 years) with the Commission than the others (5.5 years). Registered lobbyism is significantly more likely than non-registered lobbyism if the ex-commissioner is a lawyer, has been in charge of competition, the internal market, industry or taxation and—at the 10% level—has been proposed by a left wing government.


European Union European Commission Interest groups Lobbying 

JEL codes

F53 F55 

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC 2011

Authors and Affiliations

  • Roland Vaubel
    • 1
    Email author
  • Bernhard Klingen
    • 1
  • David Müller
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of EconomicsUniversität MannheimMannheimGermany

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