Bureaucratic autonomy and EU‐level agencies

Jarle Trondal

in An Emergent European Executive Order

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199579426
Published online May 2010 | e-ISBN: 9780191722714 | DOI:
Bureaucratic autonomy and EU‐level agencies

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Chapter 8 contests that the alleged de jure autonomy of government bodies profoundly influence their de facto autonomy. The empirical test is a study of the factual autonomy of EU‐level agencies. This chapter presents organizational data from thirty‐five EU‐level agencies and survey and interview data from civil servants of seven EU‐level agencies. The data suggests that agency autonomy combines organizational and actor‐level characteristics. Firstly, organizational‐level autonomy consists of the accumulated organizational capacities of EU‐level agencies. Secondly, actor‐level autonomy contains a departmental decision‐making dynamic among the agency personnel. Essentially, Chapter 8 suggests that the de jure autonomy of EU‐level agencies is of minor relevance when assessing their de facto autonomy. Consequently, the bureaucratic autonomy of the emergent European Executive Order is less contingent on legal formulas than by everyday decision‐making processes among agency personnel.

Keywords: Actor‐level autonomy; departmental dynamic; EU‐level agencies; formal organization; organizational autonomy

Chapter.  6659 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Comparative Politics

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