Supranational Governance: The Institutionalization of the European Union

Wayne Sandholtz, Alec Stone Sweet
Content Type
Working Paper
University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
We posit a continuum of modes of governance, anchored at the poles by intergovernmental and supranational politics. Movement from intergovernmental politics toward the supranational pole implies the increasing importance of three factors in EU policymaking: EU rules, EU organizations, and transnational society. We propose that an increase in one of the three factors creates conditions that favor growth in the other two. We also offer a theory as to what drives initial movement toward supranational governance: increasing levels of cross-border transactions and communications by societal actors will increase the perceived need for European-level rules, coordination, and dispute resolution mechanisms. The theory provides a coherent answer to the question of why integration proceeds faster in some domains than in others. We expect movement toward supranational governance in sectors where the intensity and value of cross-border transactions is rising.
Government, International Organization
Political Geography