How bureaucratic elites imagine Europe: towards convergence of governance beliefs?

Karl O'Connor, Claudio Radaelli

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

27 Citations (Scopus)


Does the emerging parallel Community administration share a common set of beliefs about governance and the broad policy direction of European integration? Or do different policy arenas, institutions, and types of committees shape governance beliefs? This article compares original evidence from two policy areas, that is, better regulation and direct corporate taxation. Within economic policies, these two sectors provide the most dissimilar cases in terms of conflict around institutions, the purpose of EU-level coordination, and the distribution of pay-offs among the member states. We use the ‘most dissimilar cases’ strategy to probe hypotheses about (a) common governance beliefs (b) the influence of policy-level variables on beliefs and (c) the role played by the EU institutions. We find more evidence for the ‘shared governance beliefs’ hypothesis than for the ‘policy-matter’ or ‘institution-matter’ explanation. Common beliefs revolve around a technical approach to public policy-making, an under-estimation of the role of the European Parliament, and more attachment to the paradigm of competitiveness than to social protection.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)971-989
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number7
Publication statusPublished (in print/issue) - 1 Oct 2009


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