The Path to European Integration: A Historical‐Institutionalist Analysis

Paul Pierson

in European Integration and Supranational Governance

Published in print September 1998 | ISBN: 9780198294641
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601071 | DOI:
 The Path to European Integration: A Historical‐Institutionalist Analysis

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Presents a historical institutionalist account of the development of supranational governance. Focusing on the cumulative impact of the European Community's organization and rule‐making machinery, it argues that, over time, institutional effects like path dependence and lock‐in overwhelm the capacities of national governments to control the course of integration. This is due in part to the fact that governments tend to focus on short‐term interests, while being unable to calculate long‐term consequences of delegating authority to EC institutions. It is also due to the forging of multi‐dimensional relationships between societal actors and EC institutions, such as the European Court and the European Commission, by which information asymmetries develop to the advantage of EC organizations vis‐a‐vis national governments. Various examples of this process can be seen in areas of social policy, such as gender equality and workplace health and safety.

Keywords: European Community; European integration; social policy; supranational governance

Chapter.  14445 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: European Union

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