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Title:Formal and Informal Ratification in the Intergovernmental Policies of the European Union
Author(s):Pahre, Robert
Subject(s):European Union
Politics and government
Abstract:Putnam's theory of "two-level games" has spawned numerous studies examining the interaction between international and domestic politics, many focusing on politics in the European Union. While noting that ratification may be formal or informal, much of this literature treats each important domestic actor as if it has de facto formal ratification power. This means that the literature overlooks the very real distinction between formal and informal ratification. Informal ratification may be thought of as a case in which the government pays "audience costs" for unpopular international agreements. In this case, a government must respond continuously to public opinion. This presents constraints very different from those faced by governments who must obtain the formal approval of the legislature (or other actor). For example, divided government has no effect on the likelihood of informal ratification but often does affect the distribution of gains, while it often affects the likelihood of formal ratification but often has no effect on the distribution of the gains. Because these kinds of ratification differ significantly, Putnam's ratification metaphor is not always the most appropriate conceptualization of two-level politics in the European Union. The formal ratification metaphor is especially inappropriate for studying policy-making in the second and third pillars of the EU, which are mostly characterized by intergovernmental bargaining without formal ratification requirements.
Issue Date:2004
Publisher:European Union Center
Series/Report:Vol. 3, No. 1
Publication Status:published or submitted for publication
Peer Reviewed:not peer reviewed
Rights Information:Copyright owned by Pahre, Robert
Date Available in IDEALS:2006-08-25

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