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Reshaping European regulatory space: an evolutionary analysis

Thatcher, Mark and Coen, David (2008) Reshaping European regulatory space: an evolutionary analysis. Western European Politics, 31 (4). pp. 806-836. ISSN 0140-2382

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Identification Number: 10.1080/01402380801906114


The article examines European institutions for implementing EU regulation. It assesses their development using seven different models that have been introduced or discussed for organising implementation. It argues that the development of European regulatory space has followed an evolutionary pattern involving gradual reshaping through a series of steps, with previous stages influencing later stages and institutions being built on existing structures. Despite pressures and frequent discussions of comprehensive change, existing organisations have managed to limit and shape reforms. The result has been institutional ‘layering’ and ‘conversion’ instead of streamlining, and a gradual strengthening of networks of national independent regulatory agencies. The analysis therefore suggests that evolutionary analysis based on historical institutionalist approaches seems highly appropriate to the EU. Equally, it shows how even if there are strong demand-side pressures for centralisation of regulation, existing institutional arrangements and organisations limit and shape the supply of new institutions, so that debates about radical change coexist with a fragmented, cluttered and complex European regulatory space.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2008 Routledge
Divisions: Government
Public Policy Group
Centre for Analysis of Risk & Regulation
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Date Deposited: 03 Nov 2008 14:24
Last Modified: 20 Sep 2021 00:45

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