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Worlds of compliance: Why leading approaches to the implementation of EU legislation are only 'sometimes-true theories'


  • Gerda Falkner
  • Miriam Hartlapp
  • Oliver Treib


This paper summarises the main theoretical findings of a large-scale qualitative project on the transposition, enforcement and application of six EU labour law Directives in fifteen member states. Focusing on the transposition stage, our argument starts from a theoretical puzzle: When confronting the empirical results from our 91 cases with the various hypotheses that we derived from the literature, it turns out that all causal conditions suggested by existing theories, and even two of the most prominent hypotheses (on misfit and veto players), have at best rather weak explanatory power. On closer inspection, our qualitative studies show that even their basic rationale does not hold in some groups of countries. As a solution, we offer a typology of three worlds of compliance within the fifteen EU member states covered by our study, each of which is characterised by an ideal-typical transposition style: a 'world of law observance', a 'world of domestic politics', and a 'world of neglect'. This typology provides the key to understanding when and how individual theoretical propositions are relevant.

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  • Gerda Falkner & Miriam Hartlapp & Oliver Treib, 2006. "Worlds of compliance: Why leading approaches to the implementation of EU legislation are only 'sometimes-true theories'," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 22, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).
  • Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0176

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Haverland, Markus, 2000. "National Adaptation to European Integration: The Importance of Institutional Veto Points," Journal of Public Policy, Cambridge University Press, vol. 20(01), pages 83-103, April.
    2. Treib, Oliver, 2003. "Die Umsetzung von EU-Richtlinien im Zeichen der Parteipolitik: Eine akteurzentrierte Antwort auf die Misfit-These," MPIfG Discussion Paper 03/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
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    Cited by:

    1. Antoaneta Dimitrova, 2007. "Institutionalization of Imported Rules in the European Union's New Member States: Bringing Politics Back in the Research Agenda," EUI-RSCAS Working Papers 37, European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS).

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    policy coordination; implementation; Europeanization;

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