From Free Trade to Supranational Polity: The European Court and Integration

Alec Stone Sweet, James A. Caporaso
Content Type
Working Paper
University of California Institute on Global Conflict and Cooperation (IGCC)
In this paper, we propose a dynamic theory of legal integration, test the model quantitatively, and then cross-check it by way of process tracing. We show that transnational exchange, litigation, and the production of Euro-rules have evolved interdependently, and argue that this interdependence provokes and reinforces the spillover effects that partly drive the construction of supranational governance. In case studies of the impact of the legal system on outcomes in two areas, the free movement of goods and European social provisions, we show that our model outperforms the dominant framework for understanding how the EC legal system operates - intergovernmentalism. In each of these areas, the data show that the legal system functions to reduce member-state government control over policy outcomes, and to enhance the influence of supranational institutions, national judges, and private actors.
Government, International Law, International Organization, International Political Economy
Political Geography