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Introduction. Use and Limitations of the Principal–Agent Model in Studying the European Union

Chapter
Part of the Palgrave Studies in European Union Politics book series (PSEUP)

Abstract

Given the omnipresence of delegation and control in the EU, the principal–agent model has become a popular analytical framework to study the design and effects of delegation and control. Yet, with the ascendance of governance as a mode of decision-making, the contemporary relevance of the principal–agent model became contested. We argue that the model still retains its relevance to study contemporary EU politics, but it requires researchers to follow a two-step approach. First, the hierarchical, dyadic relationship under study has to be clearly defined amidst a complex web of relations. Second, the conditions that have led to the observed pattern of delegation and/or the consequences of this pattern on the distribution of power between the principals and the agent can be inquired.

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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Université catholique de LouvainLouvain-la-NeuveBelgium
  2. 2.Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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