Bargaining outcomes and success in EU economic governance reforms

We assess the accuracy of procedural and bargaining models in predicting the outcomes of the reforms of the economic governance of the European Union (EU) that took place between 1997 and 2013. These negotiations were characterized by high costs of failure. We confirm the accuracy and robustness of the compromise model, but a procedural model with a costly reference point performs well, indicating that misestimation of the no-agreement cost may be a reason for its commonly reported poorer accuracy. However, this model is more sensitive to measurement errors. We also show how both models contribute to understanding bargaining success and how the conditional influence of the European Parliament should not be ignored. We conclude by discussing the implications of these results for our understanding of the EU.

Franchino F and Mariotto C (2022) Bargaining outcomes and success in EU economic governance reforms. Political Science Research and Methods 10(2). 2021/07/15 ed. Cambridge University Press: 227–242. DOI: 10.1017/psrm.2021.26.

Noncompliance risk, asymmetric power and enforcement design

In the European Union, states can distribute enforcement prerogatives between a supranational agency, over which they exercise equal influence, and a Council of ministers, where power resources mostly vary by country size. What shapes attitudes towards different enforcement designs? States at greater risk of noncompliance should eschew deeper cooperation and prefer procedures over which they can exercise more influence. Employing an original data set of positions on relevant contested issues during the negotiations over fiscal governance rules from 1997 to 2012, we show that governments at greater risk of noncompliance prefer greater discretion and, if they have higher voting power, more Council involvement in enforcement. These factors only partially explain positions on Commission empowerment. Given their greater indeterminacy, attitudes are also shaped by national public opinion.

Franchino F and Mariotto C (2021) Noncompliance risk, asymmetric power and the design of enforcement of the European economic governance. European Union Politics 22(4). SAGE Publications: 591–610. DOI: 10.1177/14651165211023832.

Mistrust in the Greek government undermines support for a fiscal union

In May 2015, we conducted an online survey, employing the Italian National Election Studies online panel, where more than three thousand Italian participants have been asked to choose in pairwise comparisons between fiscal unions with different characteristics.

Although more than sixty percent of the participants declared their support for a fiscal union, even when made aware of its distributive implications, they systematically preferred unions with the lowest possible tax rate (Figure 1 – click on the figure to enlarge), note: a positive (negative) value means that a union with that characteristics is supported (opposed).

Figure 1: Attitudes toward fiscal unions with different characteristics


Among several other factors, it seems that attitudes toward the Greek government undermine support for a fiscal union. Trust in the Greek government is not high (Figure 2) and – importantly – attitudes toward fiscal unions vary between participants having low and high trust, at least with regard to the very important issue of the tax rate (Figure 3)

Figure 2: Trust in the Greek government



Figure 3: Trust in the Greek government and attitudes toward fiscal unions


Trust in the Italian government is only marginally higher (Figure 4), but – importantly – attitudes toward fiscal unions do not vary significantly between participants having low and high trust (Figure 5)

Figure 4: Trust in the Italian government


Figure 5: Trust in the Italian government and attitudes toward fiscal unions


Trust in the German government is even higher (Figure 6), but – similarly – attitudes do not vary much between participants having low and high trust, with the possible exception of the spending priorities (Figure 7)

Figure 6: Trust in the German government


Figure 7: Trust in the German government and attitudes toward fiscal unions



In sum, participants are unwilling to pay for a fiscal union and these attitudes can be at least partially explained by the lack of trust in the Greek government.

Some of these findings have been presented in a paper written with Paolo Segatti (Università degli Studi di Milano) and presented at the Panel on Austerity Politics at the Crossroads, 5th Annual Conference of the European Political Science Association, Vienna, June 25 – 27, 2015

Italians, European Economic Policies and the Euro

Support for the European Union has significantly dropped over the past seven years.

In June 2014, we conducted an online survey experiment, through ITANES and SWG, where 3026 participants have been asked to choose between economic programs in pairwise comparisons.

The key results are:
a) Reducing unemployment is perceived as a key priority, even if it leads to somewhat higher inflation
b) Italians are happy about the current size of public spending and taxation
c) Policies advocating dropping the euro are strongly rejected
d) Italians prefer less intrusive budgetary controls from the EU
e) There is no support for EU-wide welfare state policies, either in addition to or replacing national policies

The presentation of the research report can be downloaded here .

Negli ultimi sette anni, l’opinione pubblica nei confronti dell’Unione Europea è notevolmente peggiorata.

Nel mese di giugno 2014, abbiamo condotto un esperimento online, in collaborazione con ITANES e SWG, dove è stato chiesto a 3026 partecipanti di scegliere tra coppie di programmi economici.

I risultati principali sono i seguenti:
a) La riduzione della disoccupazione è percepita come una priorità fondamentale, anche al costo di una inflazione leggermente più elevata
b) Gli italiani sono soddisfatti dei livelli correnti di tassazione e spesa pubblica
c) L’uscita dall’euro è fortemente osteggiata
d) Gli italiani preferiscono controlli di bilancio meno intrusivi da parte dell’Unione Europea
e) Non c’è sostegno per politiche di welfare a livello di Unione Europea, in aggiunta o in sostituzione alle politiche nazionali

La presentazione del rapporto di ricerca è disponibile qui .

Phasing-out and Phasing-in Nuclear Energy in Europe

Phasing-out and Phasing-in: The Comparative Politics and Policies of Nuclear Energy in Europe
Edited by Wolfgang C. Müller and Paul W. Thurner
1 Nuclear Energy in Western Europe: Revival or Rejection? An
Wolfgang C. Müller & Paul W. Thurner
2 Understanding Policy Reversals and Policy Stability
Wolfgang C. Müller & Paul W. Thurner
3 Comparative Policy Indicators on Nuclear Energy
Paul W. Thurner & Wolfgang C. Müller
4 The Conflict over Nuclear Energy: Public Opinion, Protest Movements,
and Green Parties in Comparative Perspective
Paul W. Thurner, Martin Dolezal, Swen Hutter, Sylvain Brouard,
Isabel Guineaudau, Wolfgang C. Müller
5 Austria: Rejecting Nuclear Energy—From Party Competition Accident
to State Doctrine
Wolfgang C. Müller
6 Nuclear Energy Politics in Belgium: Big Business and Politics
Marc Swyngedouw
7 Nuclear Politics in France: High Profile Policy and Low Salient Politics
Sylvain Brouard & Isabelle Guinaudeau
8 Germany: Party System Change and Policy Reversals
Paul W. Thurner
9 Italy: Leading and Lagging: Innovation, Delays and Coalition Politics
in Nuclear Energy Policy
Fabio Franchino
10 Nuclear Power and Politics in the Netherlands.
Kees Aarts & Maarten Arentsen
11 The Will of the People? Swedish Nuclear Power Policy
Sören Holmberg & Per Hedberg
12 Switzerland
Hanspeter Kriesi
13 Conclusion: Nuclear Energy Policy Reversals in Europe