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Bargaining Power at Europe's Intergovernmental Conferences: Testing Institutional and Intergovernmental Theories

  • Jonathan B. Slapin (a1)


This article examines how European Union member states make choices about political institutions at intergovernmental conferences, the grand negotiations where many key institutional changes are made. Using data on member-state preferences from the intergovernmental conference leading to the Treaty of Amsterdam, I test competing bargaining theories, institutionalism, and intergovernmentalism, and present strong evidence that institutionalism better captures negotiations compared to intergovernmentalism. I present a formal model to discern between these competing theories of bargaining power, derive a statistical model directly from this formal model, and then use data from the European Union's Treaty of Amsterdam to test these theories and corresponding power sources. Veto power associated with institutional models better explains intergovernmental conference outcomes compared to power from size and economic might, often associated with intergovernmental analyses.I would like to thank Kathy Bawn, Julia Gray, Tim Groseclose, James Honaker, Joe Jupille, Thomas König, Jeff Lewis, Sven-Oliver Proksch, George Tsebelis, and the participants in UCLA's graduate student formal theory and statistical methods workshops for their insightful comments on various drafts of this article. I am also grateful for the comments from several anonymous reviewers and the editors at International Organization. An earlier version of this article was presented at the annual meeting of the Midwest Political Science Association, April 2006. Data and replication material are available at 〈〉.



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