I spent the last week finalizing a review of the literature on compliance with EU law at the national level. It was a rather masochistic experience which I had promised myself never to repeat but alas… This time at least somebody will take note it since I am going to present it next week to a small workshop in Berlin. Here is the abstract:
This article introduces two bibliographical databases that provide systematic overviews of the existing statistical and qualitative academic research on (non)compliance with EU law and takes stock of the state of the art of the literature. Reviewing more than 35 statistical analyses and 80 small-N studies, I find that a small but coherent set of inferences emerges from the scholarship: transposition and practical application of EU law is limited by administrative capacity and prone to domestic conflicts spurred by the adaptation to the European rules. Political institutions influence the potential for such conflict while co-ordination and oversight mechanisms can enhance compliance. Beyond this core account, scholars disagree about the influence of policy misfit, individual preferences of domestic actors and a myriad of other variables being analyzed. I discuss matching, multi-level modeling and better case selection for qualitative studies as ways to move beyond these controversies and deliver more policy-relevant knowledge about the causes of (non)compliance with EU rules.