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Theory and Practice of Delegation to Non-Majoritarian Institutions

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The article summarises the analytical frameworks, questions, and empirical findings of the volume. It defines the key concepts used. It then sets out the principal-agent framework that explains delegation to NMIs through functional logics for principals. It sets out alternative explanations based on sociological and historical institutionalism. Thereafter, it relates the empirical findings of the volume to these wider debates about delegation. It argues that although functional demands for delegation can almost always be identified, purely functional accounts of delegation to NMIs are inadequate. Explaining the decision to delegate and the institutional forms of that delegation involves including and specifying interests, policy learning/institutional isomorphism and institutional inheritances. Delegation has also had major consequences on the distribution of power, policy making processes and substantive policy choices, both through its direct effects, and via feedback effects. Finally, delegation has raised questions about the legitimacy and accountability of NMIs.
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Keywords: delegation; distribution of power; institutionalism; policy; principal-agent theory

Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2002

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