Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States

Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States

Theoretical Perspectives

Edited by Edoardo Ongaro, Andrew Massey, Marc Holzer and Ellen Wayenberg

This book represents a major attempt to draw together two fundamental streams of research: intergovernmental relations and multi-level governance (MLG). Combining US and European schools of thought, this timely volume outlines key areas of convergence and divergence.

Chapter 8: Intergovernmental Decisions and Multi-level Governance: Producing Patchwork Policies

Adrienne Héritier

Subjects: politics and public policy, public policy, regulation and governance


Adrienne Héritier INTRODUCTION This chapter links two perspectives on governing: horizontal decisionmaking among sovereign states on the one hand and vertical decisionmaking across supranational, national and subnational levels on the other. The question of interest is: How do these two processes, horizontal intergovernmental decision-making and vertical multi-level governance, intersect and mutually affect each other? Which are typical patterns of intersection and how do they affect policy outcomes? There is a vast literature on intergovernmental decision-making in international relations on the one side and a vast literature on decision-making across levels in federalist states. The literature on multi-level governance (MLG), however, goes beyond intergovernmentalist bargaining and federalism’s perspective on multi-level government in that it focuses on the interaction of various actors, governmental and non-governmental across all levels (Hooghe and Marks 2003; Bache and Flinders 2004), in a ‘system of continuous negotiation among nested governments’ (Marks 1993, p. 392). Moreover, a growing literature has focused its attention on the intersection of horizontal and vertical decision-making and investigates the restrictions and opportunities that are created for actors at all governmental levels by the interlinking of horizontal and vertical processes of decision-making. Thus Putnam (1988), Benz et al. (1992), Tsebelis (1990) and Moravscik (1998)1 point out specific patterns of political decisionmaking resulting from the intersection of the horizontal and vertical decision-making arenas such as the emergence of new opportunities for action (Putnam 1988), but also the possibility of decision-making deadlocks or joint decision-making traps (Scharpf 1997). My argument builds on this literature,...

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