Strategic Incentives, Discretion and the Implementation of EU Directives
20 Pages Posted: 18 Jun 2013
Date Written: 2012
The effect of administrative discretion on the implementation of EU directives at the national level remains hotly contested in the academic literature. In this paper we offer a formal model which predicts that the effect of discretion on the timing of formal implementation is contingent on the cycle of government alterations. In short, governments towards the end of their term would tend to prioritize legislation which allows for plenty of discretion at the expense of EU directives they might like for substantive and ideological reasons. While discretion should increase the chance of timely transposition late in a government's term, it should matter much less in the early periods according to the model. We test these predictions on a dataset covering all directives which had to be transposed in the period 2004-2010. We score these directives for discretion and policy positions/change. Using logistic regression to model the probability of transposition, we find that the empirical analyses broadly support our theoretical model. The findings have relevance for the academic literatures on law compliance and policy implementation, as well as the practical design of legal instruments.
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