Falkner, Gerda and Treib, Oliver. (2005) "Explaining EU Policy Implementation Across Countries: Three Modes of Adaptation". In: UNSPECIFIED, Austin, Texas. (Unpublished)
The project group on "New Governance and Social Europe" (http://www.mpifg.de/socialeurope) studied 90 cases of implementation performance, related to six labour law Directives and 15 member states. We derived a large number of hypotheses as to when compliance or non-compliance with EU law should be expected from the different literatures on implementation theory and on "Europeanisation", and we formulated a couple of fresh hypotheses (see Chapters 2 and 14 of our book forthcoming with CUP). However, an untidy overall picture emerged at the end of this exercise: no causal arrow presupposed by existing theories or by our own theoretical considerations seemed either necessary or sufficient in practice across the 90 cases. We then followed the methodological recommendations of the "grounded theory" school to work on the theoretical and empirical levels repeatedly and in turn in order to allow fresh insights from each field to improve our work in the other. We thus went back to the information on each country that we had derived from our interviews and stopped simply testing the prevailing hypotheses against our cases. When re-focussing on the broader knowledge about the countries we had gained in the interviews, we finally discovered three clusters of countries, each showing a specific typical pattern of reacting to EU-induced reform requirements. In fact, some EU member states displayed quite a regular pattern of compliance or non-compliance, regardless of how the specific provisions actually matched the relevant national policy legacies and governmental ideologies. We discerned three ideal-typical patterns of how member states handle the duty of complying with EU law, three different "worlds of compliance" within the EU15: a "world of law observance", a "world of domestic politics", and a "world of neglect". The specific results of particular examples of (non-)compliance tend to depend on different factors within each of the various worlds: the compliance cultures in the field can explain most cases in the worlds of law observance and neglect, while in the world of domestic politics the specific fit with domestic political preferences in each case plays a much larger role. These "worlds" are not necessarily visible if we only look at the overall implementation performance of member states. In contrast, our argument is that similar implementation records may be due to completely different factors in different groups of countries. We also do not claim that the categorisation of "three worlds of compliance" is able to predict individual cases of implementation in the member states. However, we feel confident that it does cover the typical patterns of how member states deal with their duty to comply with EU Directives – definitely in the area of social policy, but probably even far beyond that.
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