Dirk Junge, Thomas König, Bernd Luig
Legislative Gridlock and Bureaucratic Politics in the European Union

British Journal of Political Science, 2015: 45, Heft 4, S. 777-797
ISSN: 0007-1234 (print); 1469-2112 (online)

How does the risk of gridlock affect the type of legislative output? Do bureaucratic agents expand their activities when they can expect that the principals are unable to overrule them? This article introduces a novel approach for calculating the risk of gridlock in bicameral legislatures in order to estimate its impact on bureaucratic activities, combining data on all secondary and tertiary acts of the European Union (EU) from 1983 to 2009. The findings reveal that bureaucratic activities expand when the risk of gridlock increases and an overruling of tertiary acts becomes less likely. This may sustain the EU's overall decision-making productivity, but its bureaucratic nature may raise further questions about democratic legitimacy and principal-agent problems in the representation of interests.