Governance and Intergovernmental Relations in the European Union and the United States
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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.
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Chapter 8: Intergovernmental Decisions and Multi-level Governance: Producing Patchwork Policies

Adrienne Héritier


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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