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"The Political Implications of Dual Delegation above and below the nationstate"

Newman, Abraham. (2005) "The Political Implications of Dual Delegation above and below the nationstate". In: UNSPECIFIED, Austin, Texas. (Unpublished)

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    [Introduction]. Over the last fifty years, administrative politics has undergone a radical transformation. Unlike the preceding era of state-building, which was identified by the establishment and consolidation of a centralized administrative apparatus, the post-war period has been marked by extensive delegation. A variety of agencies, commissions, organizations, courts and departments carry out essential governance tasks in issue areas ranging from telecommunications to the environment. And this wave of delegation has occurred at both the domestic and the international levels. There has been considerable attention paid in political science literature initially in American and comparative and increasingly in International Relations sub-fields to this empirical trend (Huber and Shipan 2003; Pollack 2003). These efforts, focusing on their respective level of analysis, have asked three fundamental questions. First, why do elected principals delegate authority to agents to implement and enforce law? Second, how does delegation affect the ability of principals to control the actions of agents? Third, how effective are delegated agents in improving the quality of regulation. For the purposes of this essay, I am explicitly interested in the second of these questions. In addressing the control debate, two strands of literature have emerged. One emphasizes the role that formal institutions play in shaping the principal-agent relationship (McCubbins, Noll et al. 1987; Epstein and O'Halloran 1994). The second, examines how agents may deploy political authority to entrepreneurially shape the political process (Fliegstein and Drita 1996; Carpenter 2001). In this essay, I rely on the insights of these research programs to analyze an important and often overlooked pattern in delegation – the dual delegation of authority to agents above and below the nation-state. As national economies integrate at the same time that technological complexity progresses, decision-makers confront at home and abroad the difficulty of devising specific policy responses to the challenges of international interdependence. At both the domestic and international levels, agents have been created or redeployed to confront these challenges. This process of dual delegation, I contend, has important implications for questions concerning bureaucratic control and autonomy distinct from those isolated by national or international investigations. While the existing literature in International Relations examines the relationship between national governments and international organizations and comparative politics research focuses on domestic elected officials and internal non-majoritarian institutions, this paper examines the effect of both processes on international affairs. The dynamic environment created by the delegation of authority to sub-national and international institutions shapes the ability of national principals to monitor and enforce agent behavior at the same time that it shifts the resources available to agents to act in an entrepreneurial fashion. Critical, then, in this move is the rejection of the notion of the unitary state as an actor in international politics and the acceptance that sub-national units may play an important role in the evolving international system (Slaughter 2004). The following essay is a preliminary exploration of the effect that dual delegation has on the role of agents in international politics. It will proceed in four parts. The next section briefly details the delegation of authority in the national and international arenas. This will be followed by a summary of the two dominant strands of literature concerned with bureaucratic control. Section three will then offer a series of propositions that attempt to promote discussion over the effects of dual delegation and sketch out a preliminary research agenda. The final section concludes with some unresolved questions and underscores the theoretical foundations of the project.

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    Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (UNSPECIFIED)
    Subjects for non-EU documents: EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level
    EU policies and themes > Policies & related activities > political affairs > governance: EU & national level > subnational/regional/territorial
    Other > integration theory (see also researching and writing the EU in this section)
    Subjects for EU documents: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Series and Periodicals: UNSPECIFIED
    EU Annual Reports: UNSPECIFIED
    Conference: European Union Studies Association (EUSA) > Biennial Conference > 2005 (9th), March 31-April 2, 2005
    Depositing User: Phil Wilkin
    Official EU Document: No
    Language: English
    Date Deposited: 14 Jul 2005
    Page Range: p. 29
    Last Modified: 15 Feb 2011 17:29

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