Policy‐Making in Fragmented Systems: How to Explain Success

Hubert Heinelt, Tanja Kopp‐Malek, Jochen Lang and Bernd Reissert

in Linking EU and National Governance

Published in print October 2003 | ISBN: 9780199252268
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780191601040 | DOI:
 Policy‐Making in Fragmented Systems: How to Explain Success

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Over the last decades, the European structural funds have undergone a series of wide-ranging reforms. The history of the funds, thus, does not confirm the ‘joint decision trap’ hypothesis that is often associated with policy-making in the EU multi-level system. Instead, the reforms of the structural funds can be evaluated as a success story, which calls for explanation. In contrast to some of the previous literature, empirical evidence and theoretical reasoning presented in chapter 7 show that it is difficult for the capacity for reform to be related to the existence of a closely-knit network of relevant actors in a single policy community. It is rather the ‘loose coupling’ of elements in a fragmented decision-making structure that keeps the system manageable and explains continuous reform.

Keywords: institutional reforms; loose coupling; multi-level governance; policy networks; structural funds

Chapter.  7594 words. 

Subjects: Politics

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