Principal-agent models and EU policy-making

Authored by: Nikolaos Zahariadis , Laurie Buonanno

The Routledge Handbook of European Public Policy

Print publication date:  November  2017
Online publication date:  November  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138927339
eBook ISBN: 9781315682723
Adobe ISBN:


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Over the past 20 years analysts of policy-making in the European Union (EU) have made extensive use of principal-agent (PA) theory. Most authors use that lens to investigate the delegation of powers from national governments (as principals) to one or more of the supranational institutions (as their agent[s]). But the theory is flexible enough to be applicable to other instances of delegation of powers, such as that occurring between political parties and Members of the European Parliament (MEPs), between the European Commission (Commission) and technical experts and/or regulatory agencies, or between the President of the Commission and individual commissioners or between individual commissioners and their directors.

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