Theoretical Framework

  • Johan Adriaensen
Part of the European Administrative Governance book series (EAGOV)


Drawing on the Principal-Agent (PA) model, this chapter develops the argument that the Council is best characterised as a hybrid principal, exhibiting traits of both a collective and a multiplicity of principals. The application of this perspective has consequences for the conceptualisation of two key tenets of the PA model: control and information asymmetry. Unlike the traditional focus on the formal treaty-based mechanisms of control, a shift towards the continuous informal interactions between principal and agent is advocated. Similarly, this chapter proposes a focus on administrative capacity, rather than external negotiating context, as a source of information asymmetry. Once these concepts have been refined, the chapter introduces and contextualises the main hypothesis of this book.


Member State Information Asymmetry Trade Negotiation Administrative Capacity Individual Member State 
These keywords were added by machine and not by the authors. This process is experimental and the keywords may be updated as the learning algorithm improves.


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© The Editor(s) (if applicable) and The Author(s) 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Johan Adriaensen
    • 1
  1. 1.Maastricht UniversityMaastrichtThe Netherlands

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