Policy Delegation in Parliamentary Systems: A Comparative Perspective on Bureaucratic Autonomy

Research question/goal: 

This project set out to examine how parliamentary systems in Western Europe differ from the US with regard to bureaucratic delegation. We know that we have observed an increase in the use of delegated, secondary legislation of the executive, which is often referred to in the popular press as bureaucratization. But, has this trend toward the increased use of these delegated measures shifted and/or limited the legislative competencies of the Parliament over time? The ability and propensity of decision makers to delegate vary widely across political systems and policy areas, and this could directly affect both the quality and direction of public policy. This project asks how differences in the preferences of the legislating actors and the degree of institutional control over bureaucrats affect changes in the extent of policy delegation in five countries. The work plan envisioned the assembly, completion and standardization of cross-national primary and secondary legislation databank. These data include comprehensive statistics for all primary and secondary legislation passed subsequent to 1987 in the UK, Ireland, France, Germany and the US in a machine readable and comparable format. In order to achieve a complete update of the current raw data to include the past seven years, the raw data have been attained. The past months have also provided opportunity for a number of important theoretical advancements: In addition to having completed a systematic and detailed classification scheme for the European parliamentary legislative systems, the US legislative process is also documented. The research begun under the Margarete von Wrangell program will be completed under a Marie Curie Career Integration Grant (approved with project begin on 1 March 2012).

Fact sheet

Margarete von Wrangell Post Doctoral Research Fellowship
2009 to 2011
Data Sources: 
Data based on official documents (national parliamentary and
Geographic Space: 
selected European Union member states