Gijs Jan Brandsma and Jens Blom-Hansen. 2017. Controlling the EU Executive? The Politics of Delegation in the European Union (Oxford: Oxford University Press)
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Questions of pooling and delegation are central to the study of the European Union (Pollack 1997; Hooghe and Marks 2015). Delegation is “the conditional grant of authority by member states to an independent body” (Hooghe and Marks 2015, 307). The basic idea of delegation is invariably the same: actors (principals) have incentives to delegate authority when they expect that the decisions are made by actors (agents) with more expertise in less politicized environments (Hawkins et al. 2006). The drawback of delegation is that agents are (by design) less accountable and may use their information advantages to pursue policies that are not favored by their principal. This principal-agent dynamic poses a dilemma for politicians in the European Union (EU): they want to delegate authority to supranational institutions, but they also want to maximize their control over these institutions to minimize losses from agency slippage.
Much of the scholarship on delegation in the European Union that...