Law and Order in the EU: The Comparative Politics of Compliance
Siegel, Scott Nicholas
Why do some member states of the European Union comply with EU law more than others? The dissertation answers this question by unpacking the ?black box? of the liberal democratic state and testing three alternative hypotheses. The chief reason why some states violate law beyond the nation-state more than others is a function of the degree to which a country?s legal tradition codifies social and economic reality. As more of social and economic reality is codified into national law, the more likely a state will commit an infraction of European Union law. This argument is tested through the rigorous application of both qualitative and quantitative methods against two chief alternative explanations. Using a dataset of over 1,200 violations of the Treaty of the European Communities and its associated regulations, the statistical analysis shows that levels of codification, measured by a country?s regulatory quality, is the primary explanatory factor for both why some EU member states violate the Treaty more than others and why the ECJ is more likely to settle these legal disputes when they occur. Furthermore, even though the United Kingdom and the Federal Republic of Germany have very different legal traditions and parliamentary systems, comparing the process of compliance in each of these countries in the area of the free movement of goods shows that the degree to which basic principles of law are codified determines why they have similar proportions of infringements settled by the European Court of Justice. These findings have important implications for how we understand compliance with international law and the role domestic institutions play in the compliance process, both for the member states of the European Union and for all other states in the international system. While compliance with international law can be a normatively beneficial activity at times, it can also lead to a diminishing role for national parliaments in governing society. Most importantly, the rich diversity that democratic governance produces as it codifies social reality can be lost as international institutions homogenize national legal systems in hopes of achieving other policy goals.
compliance; European Union; international law; Western Europe
dissertation or thesis