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Exploring Governance in a Multi-Level Polity: A Policy Instruments Approach

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The study of public policy instruments in national settings has contributed significantly to our understanding of policy, political systems, and relations between state and citizen. Its promise for the EU, where instrument-centred research has hitherto been limited in coverage and method, remains by contrast largely unfulfilled. This article discusses the political sociology approach to instruments, developed by Lascoumes and Le Gales as an alternative to the traditional functionalist perspective, and highlights its value in opening new perspectives on EU policy-making and its consequences. It presents an overview of the findings of an original set of case studies, which demonstrate the usefulness of the approach in providing new insights on classic questions of EU decision-making, uncovering hidden dimensions of EU policy development, and revealing the limits of the organisational capacity of the EU as a system, as well as challenging established narratives.
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Document Type: Research Article

Publication date: January 1, 2010

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