Skip to main content Accessibility help
×
×
Home

The Politics of International Oversight: Strategic Monitoring and Legal Compliance in the European Union

  • JOSHUA C. FJELSTUL (a1) and CLIFFORD J. CARRUBBA (a1)
Abstract

States often violate international agreements, both accidentally and intentionally. To process complaints efficiently, states can create formal, pretrial procedures in which governments can negotiate with litigants before a case ever goes to court. If disputes are resolved during pretrial negotiations, it can be very difficult to tell what has happened. Are governments coming into compliance? If so, are they only doing so when they have accidentally committed a violation or even when they are intentionally resisting? Or are challenges simply being dropped? This paper presents a formal model to address these questions. We develop our theory in the context of the European Union (EU). To test our model, we collect a new dataset of over 13,000 Commission infringement cases against EU member states (2003–2013). Our results suggest that accidental and intentional noncompliance both occur, but that intentional noncompliance is more common in the EU. We find that the Commission is an effective, if imperfect, monitor and enforcer of international law. The Commission can correct intentional noncompliance, but not always. It strategically drops cases that it believes it is unlikely to win.

Copyright
Corresponding author
Joshua C. Fjelstul is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of Political Science, Emory University, 1555 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322 (joshua.fjelstul@emory.edu).
Clifford J. Carrubba is a Professor, Department of Political Science, Emory University, 1555 Dickey Drive, Atlanta, GA 30322 (ccarrub@emory.edu).
Footnotes
Hide All

We thank Matt Gabel, Adam Glynn, Greg Martin, John Patty, Miguel Rueda, Craig Volden, five anonymous reviewers, and the editors of the APSR for their helpful comments. We also thank participants in the Faculty Research Speaker Series, Frank Batten School of Leadership and Public Policy, University of Virginia. A previous version of this article was presented at the 2016 Annual Meeting of the Southern Political Science Association in San Juan, Puerto Rico. Replication files are available at the American Political Science Review Dataverse: https://doi.org/10.7910/DVN/GJIRV0.

Footnotes
References
Hide All
Alter, Karen. 2000. “The European Union’s Legal System: Spillover or Backlash?International Organization 54 (3): 489518.
Alter, Karen. 2001. Establishing the Supremacy of European Law: The Making of an International Rule of Law in Europe. Oxford: Oxford University Press.
Bakker, Ryan, de Vries, Catherine, Edwards, Erica, Hooghe, Liesbet, Jolly, Seth, Marks, Gary, Polk, Jonathan, Rovny, Jan, Steenbergen, Marco, and Vachudova, Milada. 2015. “Measuring Party Positions in Europe: The Chapel Hill Expert Survey Trend File, 1999–2010.” Party Politics 21 (1): 143–52.
Beach, Derek. 2005. “Why Governments Comply: An Integrative Compliance Model that Bridges the Gap between Instrumental and Normative Models of Compliance.” Journal of European Public Policy 12 (1): 113–42.
Benoit, Kenneth, and Laver, Michael. 2007. “Estimating Party Policy Positions: Comparing Expert Surveys and Hand Coded Content Analysis.” Electoral Studies 26: 90107.
Berry, William D., Golder, Matt, and Milton, Daniel. 2012. “Improving Tests of Theories Positing Interaction.” The Journal of Politics 74 (3): 653–71.
Bohmelt, Tobias, and Freyburg, Tina. 2012. “The Temporal Dimension of the Credibility of EU Conditionality and Candidate States’ Compliance with the Acquis Communautaire, 1998–2009.” European Union Politics.
Borghetto, Enrico, Franchino, Fabio, and Giannetti, Daniela. 2006. “Complying with the Transposition Deadlines of EU Directives. Evidence from Italy.” Rivista Italiana di Politiche Pubbliche 1 (1): 738.
Borzel, Tanja A. 2000. “Why There Is No ‘Southern Problem.’ On Environmental Leaders and Laggards in the European Union.” Journal of European Public Policy 7 (1): 141–62.
Börzel, Tanja A. 2001. “Non-Compliance in the European Union: Pathology or Statistical Artefact?Journal of European Public Policy 8 (5): 803–24.
Börzel, Tanja A., and Risse, Thomas. 2003. “Conceptualizing the Domestic Impact of Europe.” In The Politics of Europeanization, eds. Featherstone, Kevin and Radaelli, Claudio M.. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 5780.
Börzel, Tanja A., Hofmann, Tobias, Panke, Diana, and Sprungk, Carina. 2010. “Obstinate and Inefficient: Why Member States Do Not Comply with European Law.” Comparative Political Studies 43 (11): 1363–90.
Brambor, T., Clark, William Roberts, and Golder, Matt. 2006. “Understanding Interaction Models: Improving Empirical Analyses.” Political Analysis 14 (1): 6382.
Burley, Anne-Marie, and Mattli, Walter. 1993. “Europe Before the Court: A Politial Theory of Legal Integration.” International Organization 47 (1): 4176.
Bursens, Peter. 2002. “Why Denmark and Belgium Have Different Implementation Records: On Transposition Laggards and Leaders in the EU.” Scandinavian Political Studies 25 (2): 173–95.
Cameron, A. Colin, Gelbach, Jonah B., and Miller, Douglas L.. 2012. “Robust Inference with Multiway Clustering.” Journal of Business & Economic Statistics 29 (2): 238–49.
Carrubba, Clifford J. 2001. “The Electoral Connection in European Union Politics.” Journal of Politics 63 (1): 141–58.
Carrubba, Clifford J. 2005. “Courts and Compliance in International Regulatory Regimes.” Journal of Politics 67 (3): 669–89.
Carrubba, Clifford J., Gabel, Matthew, and Hankla, Charles. 2008. “Judicial Behavior under Political Constraints: Evidence from the European Court of Justice.” American Political Science Review 102 (4): 435–52.
Carrubba, Clifford J., and Gabel, Matthew. 2017. “International Courts: A Theoretical Assessment.” Annual Reviews of Political Science 20: 5573.
Carrubba, Clifford J., and Gabel, Matthew J.. 2015. International Courts and the Performance of International Agreements. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Chayes, Abram, and Chayes, Antonia Handler. 1993. “On Compliance.” International Organization 47 (2): 175205.
Ciavarini Azzi, Giuseppe. 2000. “The Slow March of European Legislation: The Implementation of Directives.” In European Integration after Amsterdam: Institutional Dynamics and Prospects for Democracy, eds. Neunreither, Karlheinz and Wiener, Antje. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 5267.
Conant, Lisa J. 2002. Justice Contained: Law and Politics in the European Union. Ithaca, NY: Cornell University Press.
Crombez, Christophe, and Hix, Simon. 2011. “Treaty Reform and the Commission’s Appointment and Policy-Making Role in the European Union.” European Union Politics 12 (3): 291314.
Dimitrova, Antoaneta. 2002. “Enlargement, Institution-Building and the EU’s Administrative Capacity Requirement.” West European Politics 25 (4): 171–90.
Doring, Holger. 2013. “The Collective Action of Data Collection: A Data Infrastructure on Parties, Elections and Cabinets.” European Union Politics 14 (1): 161–78.
Downs, George, Rocke, David, and Barsoom, Peter. 1996. “Is the Good News about Compliance Good News about Cooperation?International Organization 50 (3): 379406.
Falkner, Gerda. 2005. Complying with Europe: EU Harmonisation and Soft Law in the Member States. Cambridge: Cambridge University Press.
Garrett, Geoffrey, Kelemen, R. Daniel, and Schulz, Heiner. 1998. “The European Court of Justice, National Governments, and Legal Integration in the European Union.” International Organization 52 (1): 149–76.
Giuliani, Marco. 2003. “Europeanization in Comparative Perspective: Institutional Fit and Domestic Adaptation.” In The Politics of Europeanization, eds. Kevin Featherstone and Claudio M. Radaelli. Oxford: Oxford University Press, 134–55.
Greene, William. 2012. Econometric Analysis, 7th ed. Boston: Prentice Hall.
Hartlapp, Miriam. 2008. “Extended Governance: Implementation of EU Social Policy in the Member States.” In Innovative Governance in the European Union, eds. Tömmel, Ingeborg and Verdun, Amy. Boulder, CO: Lynne Rienner, 221–36.
Hartlapp, Miriam, and Falkner, Gerda. 2009. “Problems of Operationalization and Data in EU Compliance Research.” European Union Politics 10 (2): 281304.
Haverland, Markus, and Romeijn, Marleen. 2007. “Do Member States Make European Policies Work? Analysing the EU Transposition Deficit.” Public Administration 85 (3): 757–78.
Hille, Peter, and Knill, Christoph. 2006. “It’s the Bureaucracy, Stupid: The Implementation of the Acquis Communautaire in EU Candidate Countries, 1999–2003.” European Union Politics 7 (4): 531–52.
Hooghe, Liesbet, Bakker, Ryan, Brigevich, Anna, de Vries, Catherine, Edwards, Erica, Marks, Gary, Rovny, Jan, and Steenbergen, Marco. 2010. “Reliability and Validity of Measuring Party Positions: The Chapel Hill Expert Surveys of 2002 and 2006.” European Journal of Political Research 49: 684703.
Jensen, Christian B. 2007. “Implementing Europe: A Question of Oversight.” European Union Politics 8 (4): 451–77.
Kaufmann, Daniel, Kraay, Aart, and Mastruzzi, Massimo. 2009. “Governance Matters VIII: Aggregate and Individual Governance Indicators, 1996–2008.” World Bank Policy Research Working Paper (4978).
Kaufmann, Daniel, Kraay, Aart, and Mastruzzi, Massimo. 2011. “The Worldwide Governance Indicators: Methodology and Analytical Issues.” Hague Journal on the Rule of Law 3 (02): 220–46.
Keohane, Robert. 1984. After Hegemony: Cooperation and Discord in the World Political Economy. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press.
König, Thomas, and Luetgert, Brooke. 2009. “Troubles with Transposition? Explaining Trends in Member-State Notification and the Delayed Transposition of EU Directives.” British Journal of Political Science 39 (1): 163–94.
König, Thomas, and Mäder, Lars. 2012. “Non-conformable, Partial and Conformable Transposition: A Competing Risk Analysis of the Transposition Process of Directives in the EU15.” European Union Politics 14 (1): 4669.
König, Thomas, and Mäder, Lars. 2014. “The Strategic Nature of Compliance: An Empirical Evaluation of Law Implementation in the Central Monitoring System of the European Union.” American Journal of Political Science 58 (1): 246–63.
Luetgert, Brooke, and Dannwolf, Tanja. 2009. “Mixing Methods: A Nested Analysis of EU Member State Transposition Patterns.” European Union Politics 10 (3): 307–34.
Mbaye, Heather A. D. 2001. “Why National States Comply with Supranational Law.” European Union Politics 2 (3): 259–81.
Mendrinou, Maria. 1996. “Non-Compliance and the European Commission’s Role in Integration.” Journal of European Public Policy 3 (1): 122.
Panke, Diana. 2010. “Good Instructions in No Time? Domestic Coordination of EU Policies in 19 Small States.” West European Politics 33 (4): 770–90.
Perkins, Richard, and Neumayer, Eric. 2007. “Do Membership Benefits Buy Regulatory Compliance? An Empirical Analysis of EU Directives 1978–99.” European Union Politics 8 (2): 180206.
Rosendorff, Peter B. 2005. “Stability and Rigidity: Politics and Design of the WTO’s Dispute Settlement Procedure.” American Political Science Review 99 (3): 389400.
Rosendorff, Peter B., and Milner, Helen V.. 2001. “The Optimal Design of International Trade Institutions: Uncertainty and Escape.” International Organization 55 (4): 829–57.
Sedelmeier, Ulrich. 2008. “After Conditionality: Post-Accession Compliance with EU Law in East Central Europe.” Journal of European Public Policy 15 (6): 806–25.
Simmons, Beth A. 2009. Mobilizing for Human Rights: International Law in Domestic Politics. New York: Cambridge University Press.
Simmons, Beth A., and Danner, Allison. 2010. “Credible Commitments and the International Criminal Court.” International Organization 64 (2): 225–56.
Slepcevic, Reinhard. 2009. “The Judicial Enforcement of EU Law through National Courts: Possibilities and Limits.” Journal of European Public Policy 16 (3): 378–94.
Steunenberg, Bernard. 2006. “Turning Swift Policy-making into Deadlock and Delay National Policy Coordination and the Transposition of EU Directives.” European Union Politics 7 (3): 293319.
Steunenberg, Bernard, and Rhinard, Mark. 2010. “The Transposition of European Law in EU Member States: Between Process and Politics.” European Political Science Review 2 (3): 495520.
Sverdrup, Ulf. 2004. “Compliance and Conflict Management in the European Union: Nordic Exceptionalism Europeanization and Implementation of.” Scandinavial Political Studies 27 (1): 2344.
Sweet, Alex Stone, and Brunell, Thomas L.. 1998. “Constructing a Supranational Constitution: Dispute Resolution and Governance in the European Community.” American Political Science Review 92 (1): 6381.
Tallberg, Jonas. 2002. “Paths to Compliance: Enforcement, Management, and the European Union.” International Organization 56 (3): 609–43.
Thomson, Robert. 2010. “Opposition through the Back Door in the Transposition of EU Directives.” European Union Politics 11 (4): 577–96.
Thomson, Robert, Torenvlied, René, and Arregui, Javier. 2007. “The Paradox of Compliance: Infringements and Delays in Transposing European Union Directives.” British Journal of Political Science 37 (4): 685709.
Toshkov, Dimiter. 2008. “Embracing European Law: Compliance with EU Directives in Central and Eastern Europe.” European Union Politics 9 (3): 379402.
Zhelyazkova, Asya. 2013. “Complying with EU Directives’ Requirements: The Link between EU Decision-Making and the Correct Transposition of EU Provisions.” Journal of European Public Policy 20 (5): 702–21.
Zhelyazkova, Asya, and Torenvlied, René. 2009. “The Time-Dependent Effect of Conflict in the Council on Delays in the Transposition of EU Directives.” European Union Politics 10 (1): 3562.
Ziller, Jacques, and Siedentopf, Heinrich. 1988. Making European Policies Work: The Implementation of Community Legislation in the Member States. London: Sage.
Recommend this journal

Email your librarian or administrator to recommend adding this journal to your organisation's collection.

American Political Science Review
  • ISSN: 0003-0554
  • EISSN: 1537-5943
  • URL: /core/journals/american-political-science-review
Please enter your name
Please enter a valid email address
Who would you like to send this to? *
×
Type Description Title
PDF
Supplementary materials

Fjelstul and Carrubba supplementary material
Fjelstul and Carrubba supplementary material 1

 PDF (247 KB)
247 KB
UNKNOWN
Supplementary materials

Fjelstul and Carrubba Dataset
Dataset

 Unknown

Metrics

Altmetric attention score

Full text views

Total number of HTML views: 0
Total number of PDF views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

Abstract views

Total abstract views: 0 *
Loading metrics...

* Views captured on Cambridge Core between <date>. This data will be updated every 24 hours.

Usage data cannot currently be displayed