The Principal Agent Model and the European Union


This book assesses the use and limitations of the principal-agent model in a context of increasingly complex political systems such as the European Union. Whilst a number of conceptual, theoretical and methodological challenges need to be addressed, the authors show that the principal-agent model can still provide deeper insights into a wide range of political phenomena. Through an empirical analysis of multiple principal-agent relations in the EU, covering a variety of policy fields and political actors, the volume refines our theoretical understanding of the politics of delegation and discretion in the EU. It will appeal to scholars in interested in EU politics and policy, public administration and governance, and international organisations.


‘This book is a tour-de-force of the European Union’s increasingly complex architecture. But studying it through the lens of the principal-agent model brings order and clarity. Delreux and Adriaensen show how the careful application of a model to an entire empirical field not only provides a map for navigating the empirical terrain, but also enables theory development. Endeavors like this advance our discipline.’ — Jens Blom-Hansen, Aarhus University, Denmark

‘This important book develops the principal-agent model in new and significant directions. One of the key tools in political science emerges as a powerful and relevant model to tackle central issues for the discipline.’ — Mark Thatcher, London School of Economics, UK


Foreword – Mark Pollack

More information

For more information, visit the Palgrave website.