The New Modes of EU Governance – Combining Rationalism and Constructivism in Explaining Voluntarist Policy Coordination in the EU
Österreichische Zeitschrift für Politikwissenschaft, Vol. 34(2), 2005
Posted: 1 Mar 2014
Date Written: June 28, 2005
Voluntary policy coordination and the exchange of "good practice? through the "Open Method of Coordination? have recently led to a widespread debate in political science. Does the OMC have the potential to lead to domestic policy adjustments? And if yes, what are the necessary conditions? This article addresses these questions from a theoretical perspective by comparing and combining a rationalist and a constructivist perspective. Preference convergence, shadow of hierarchy and differential empowerment are identified as the key explanatory factors for paradigmatic policy learning that are offered by a rationalist approach. The constructivist perspective stresses the importance of intense communicative and coordinative discourse for persuasion and diminished knowledge uncertainty. In this article I argue, first, that a complementary usage of these two antithetical, but not incompatible, approaches allows for an improved assessment of the OMC?s problem-solving capacity and, second, that, based on the identified conditions for effective policy coordination, the problem-solving capacity of the OMC is likely to be limited.
Keywords: rationalism, constructivism, game theory, actor-centered institutionalism, discourse theory, EU voluntarist policy coordination, european employment strategy, open method of coordination
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