Panke, Diana. (2005) "The Power of the Law vs. the Power of the Strongest? Explaining Successes and Failures of the European Court of Justice in Promoting Member State Compliance with EU Law". In: UNSPECIFIED, Austin, Texas. (Unpublished)
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Legalization has become one of the most central concepts in capturing the interaction between international law and politics. However, there is still disagreement whether and under which conditions legalization matters. In the attempt to increase the effectiveness of international law, states have more and more relied on the strengthening of legal dispute settlement procedures, e.g. in the WTO. But does adjudication generally result in higher levels of state compliance with law beyond the nation-state? Drawing on the European Union as the empirical extreme type for high legalization, this paper explores how and under which conditions judicial discourses within international institutions promote state compliance. The empirical analysis shows that judicial discourses before the European Court of Justice result in varying patterns of compliance, reaching from stable compliance, over unstable compliance, to continued non-compliance. None of the prominent compliance theories can sufficiently explain such variation. Emphasizing the importance of institutional learning, this paper offers an alternative approach, which accounts for differential patterns of compliance both between and within EU member-states. The explanatory power of the approach is illustrated by two case studies in the field of environmental policy.
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