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Government responsiveness in the European Union: evidence from council voting

Hagemann, Sara ORCID: 0000-0002-0104-1782, Hobolt, Sara B. and Wratil, Christopher (2017) Government responsiveness in the European Union: evidence from council voting. Comparative Political Studies, 50 (6). pp. 850-876. ISSN 0010-4140

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Identification Number: 10.1177/0010414015621077


Are governments responsive to public preferences when legislating in international organizations? This paper demonstrates that governments respond to domestic public opinion even when acting at the international level. Specifically, we examine conflict in the European Union’s primary legislative body, the Council of the European Union (EU). We argue that domestic electoral incentives compel governments to react to public opinion. Analyzing a unique dataset on all legislative decisions adopted in the Council since 1999, we show that governments are more likely to oppose legislative proposals that extend the level and scope of EU authority when their domestic electorates are skeptical about the EU. We also find that governments are more responsive when the issue of European integration is salient in domestic party politics. Our findings demonstrate that governments can use the international stage to signal their responsiveness to public concerns and that such signals resonate in the domestic political debate.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2015 SAGE Publications
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
Date Deposited: 25 Nov 2015 16:35
Last Modified: 10 Jul 2024 04:57
Projects: W88918G, RF-2013-345
Funders: Economic and Social Research Council, Leverhulme Trust

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