The influence of subnational interests in supranational regulation
This dissertation assesses the influence of subnational interest in the supranational regulatory process. It draws on the experience of the European Union (EU) as an advanced model of supranational governance. To increase democratic input in rulemaking, the EU created in 1994 an advisory body—the Committee of the Regions, consisting of officials with electoral mandates at local or regional levels. This research is the first systematic test of the influence of this body. The study tracks 60 legislative proposals initiated by the European Commission between 1996 and 2007 and estimates the change made in response to the requests of the decentralized interest. Specifically, two questions are addressed: (1) how often the preferences expressed in the Committee's opinion are acted upon through incorporation into EU legislation, and (2) under what conditions the likelihood for incorporation is maximized.
The analysis is done at two levels: it first investigates the factors affecting the success of individual amendments proposed by the Committee, and then moves to the proposal level to assess the influence on aggregate legislative outcomes. The study utilizes rigorous statistical analyses, including ordered probit estimation, generalized linear model, and negative binomial model. To check the robustness of the results, a bootstrapping procedure is performed. The empirical estimates of the coefficients confirmed the results obtained under the theoretical distributional assumptions.
The analysis demonstrates that the Commission responds favorably more than one third of the time. The opinion of the Committee is more influential on proposals dealing with regional and cohesion policy, where it has an informational advantage. Consistent with the notion of bureaucratic expertise, the responsiveness of the Commission is contingent upon the complexity of the policy issue at hand. Finally, the elected subnational politicians are more likely to be heard by the non-elected Commission if the public is dissatisfied with the democratic process in the European Union.
The broader societal value of this work lies in its focus on the fundamental question of how to reconcile bureaucracy and democracy.
0617: Public administration