Delegation to Supranational Institutions: Why, How, and with What Consequences?
West European Politics 25 (1): 23-46, January 2002
25 Pages Posted: 27 Nov 2012
Date Written: 2002
Why, how, and with what consequences do national governments delegate political authority to supranational institutions? Contrary to the static conceptions of delegation that dominate the existing literature, this article adopts a dynamic approach, where the stages of the delegation process are integrated into a coherent rational institutionalist framework. With demonstrations from the case of the European Union, I argue that: (1) the expected consequences of delegation motivate governments to confer certain functions to supranational institutions; (2) the nature of these functions influences the design of mechanisms for controlling the institutions; (3) the institutional design shapes the consequences of delegation by facilitating or obstructing attempts by the institutions to implement private agendas; and (4) the consequences of previous rounds of delegation affect future delegation, institutional design, and interaction, through positive and negative feed-back loops.
Keywords: European Union, delegation, agency, principal-agent, supranational, supranational institutions, international organizations, control
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