Effects of contestation within a collective agent in EU Trade policy-making
Title: Effects of contestation within a collective agent in EU Trade policy-making
Author: GASTINGER, Markus
Citation: Tom DELREUX and Johan ADRIAENSEN (eds), The principal agent model and the European Union, Cham : Palgrave Macmillan, 2017, Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics, pp. 181–202
ISBN: 9783319551371; 9783319551364
This chapter argues that conceiving the Commission as a unitary actor is a legitimate simplification of empirical reality for most research purposes. Recently, the principal–agent literature has started examining collective-actor features of agents and suggested that internal conflict is as disadvantageous to agents as it is to principals. By contrast, I argue that intra-agent conflict occurs less frequently and with a lower intensity than is typically the case for collective principals. The Commission-as-agent can overcome conflict quickly due to its hierarchical setup and less stringent decision-making procedures. It may even harness conflict through inter-service consultations to draft better initial proposals. On the political level, open conflict among Commissioners can earn it the reputation of credibly defending controversial sectoral interests in the eyes of affected stakeholders. I develop my argument by focusing on five bilateral trade agreements negotiated from 1970–2007. Generalizing it beyond the case of EU trade policy-making, I focus on empirical, theoretical and methodological reasons justifying many scholars’ choice to model agents such as the Commission as unitary actors.
First Online: 18 October 2017
Initial version: http://hdl.handle.net/1814/33552
Version: Is based on chapter of EUI PhD thesis, 2014
Files in this item
There are no files associated with this item.