Does implicit voting matter? Coalitional bargaining in the EU legislative process
European Union Politics
GB : SAGE Publications
513 - 534 p.
EU legislative process, decision-making, cooperative game theory, Coalition formation
This article examines how decision makers in the EU legislative process reach consensual decisions through the mechanism of ‘implicit voting’. I introduce a spatial model of coalitional bargaining using a utility function incorporating decision makers’ considerations of the policy gains they expect to obtain from the outcome and the policy concessions they need to give other decision makers so as to have the outcome accepted. The model predicts the formation of a compact coalition, which will be able to implement the final policy. As a compact coalition typically integrates a majority of like-minded legislators, consensual outcomes reached through coalition formations are likely to occur under conditions of preference polarization and reflect ideological choices towards one side of the political spectrum. The empirical evaluation of the model for 44 proposals and 111 issues of the EU legislative process requiring qualified majority voting confirms the expectations of the model and suggests that implicit voting is specifically relevant to explaining decisions leading to high or low levels of policy change