Disciplining Member States: Does Public Mood Influence the European Commission?
23 Pages Posted: 16 Jun 2020
Date Written: May 22, 2020
We investigate the effect of public opinion on the European Union centralised compliance monitoring system. We argue that because the authority and effectiveness of its enforcement actions are affected by public support, the European Commission has incentives to adjust its enforcement decisions to the public mood. Whereas high public support gives the Commission greater leverage to discipline Member States, low support acts a constraint on harsher forms of enforcement action. To address the endogenous character of enforcement and public support, we use unemployment rate and health care cuts interacted with Eurozone bailouts as instrumental variables to estimate the effect of public support on enforcement actions. Consistent with our theoretical predictions, we find the strongest evidence for the influence of public support on enforcement at the litigation stage when the Commission decides whether to take member states to court.
Keywords: Compliance; European Commission: European Union; Member States; Public Support
JEL Classification: F51; F55; K42
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation