StoneSweet-Brunell_ConstructingASupranationalConstitution

StoneSweet-Brunell_ConstructingASupranationalConstitution -...

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American Political Science Review Vol. 92, No. 1 March 1998 Constructing a Supranational Constitution: Dispute Resolution and Governance in the European Communit ALEC STONE SWEET and THOMAS L. BRUNELL, University of California, Irvine W T Ze present a theoryof European legal integration that relies on three causal factors: transnational exchange, triadic dispute resolution, and the production of legal norms.After stating the theory in abstract terms, we explain the constructionof the legal system and test the relationship among our three variables over the life of the European Community. We then examine the effect of the EC legal system on policy outcomes at both the national and supranational levels in two policy domains: the free movement of goods and gender equality. Our theory outperforms its leading rival, intergovernmentalism. The evidence shows that European integrationhas generally been driven by transnational activity and the effortsof EC institutions to reduce transaction costs, behavior which governmentsreact to but do not control. N o international organization in world history has attracted as much scholarly attention as the European Community (EC).1 The reason is straightforward: The EC has evolved from a relatively traditional (albeit multifaceted) interstate system into a quasi-federal polity. In a word, Europe has integrated, as the linkages between politics on the EC level and politics on the national level have expanded in scope and deepened in intensity. Scholars working in diverse fields, including public law, international relations, and comparative politics, have been fascinated by the inte- gration process, not least because of the challenge of understanding the reciprocal effect, over time, of inter- national and domestic systems of governance. Current theoretical disagreements about how to understand European integration are largely disputes between intergovernmentalists, whose imagery is drawn from the international regime literature (Gar- rett 1992; Keohane and Hoffmann 1991; Moravcsik 1991, 1993; Taylor 1983), and supranationalists, whose imagery is often federalist (Burley and Mattli 1993; Leibfried and Pierson, eds., 1995; Marks, Hooghe, and Blank 1996; Sandholtz 1993, 1996; Sbragia 1993; Stone Sweet and Sandholtz 1997). Intergovernmentalists ac- cord relative priority to member state governments- representatives of the national interest-who bargain with one another in EC fora to fix the terms and limits of integration. Supranationalists (especially the heirs of neofunctionalism), accord relative priority to EC insti- tutions-representatives of the interests of a nascent transnational society-who work with public and pri- Alec Stone Sweet is Associate Professor and Thomas L. Brunell is a Ph.D. candidate, Department of Politics and Society, School of Social Sciences, University of California, Irvine, CA 92697-5100.
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