Paul W. Thurner, Eric Linhart
EU intergovernmental conferences and domestic politics: an empirical application of the Putnam conjectures

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Mannheimer Zentrum für Europäische Sozialforschung: Arbeitspapiere; 77
ISSN: 1437-8574

This quantitative study examines the relative impact of domestic and international determinants on the success of EU constitution-building conferences and on the distribution of benefits to the negotiating governments. How do governmental organization and the distribution of within-cabinet preferences of EU member states translate into EU constitution-building? In a seminal article on the relation between domestic and international politics, Robert Putnam conjectured that the chance of a successful agreement of international negotiations is the higher, the larger the win sets of the participating negotiating actors, and the benefits as achieved by each of the negotiators are expected to be the higher, the smaller the respective governmental win sets. Using quantitative data for the complex multi-lateral, multi-level, multi-issue negotiation system resulting into the Amsterdam treaty, we take into account organizational structures as well as constitutional preferences of the involved members of the cabinets at that time. Contrary to Putnam’s conjecture 1, statistical analyses indicate that ‘joint international unanimity win set size’ was neither a sufficient nor a necessary condition for successful negotiations. It was the exercise of power and intranational conflicts that have been conducive to a transition of the international status quo. Contrary to Putnam’s conjecture 2, small governmental win set size did not constitute a negotiation advantage at the international level. Rather, the collective decision to go beyond the status quo and the declared win set sizes combined to affect the utility income of the cabinet pivot.