3 May, 9:30-18:00
Non-Majoritarian Institutions under Political Pressure
Badia, Sala del Capitolo
Organizers: Bernardo Rangoni (LAW), Anna Tzanaki (LAW)
Since the 1980s, within and beyond Europe we have witnessed widespread delegation of powers from governments directly elected by citizens to Non-Majoritarian Institutions (NMIs) that are neither directly elected nor directly managed by elected politicians (Thatcher and Stone Sweet 2002: 2).
The institutional forms taken by NMIs include independent regulatory agencies tasked to oversee and facilitate competition (Thatcher 2002a; Coen and Thatcher 2005), central banks charged to conduct monetary policy (McNamara 2002), specialized constitutional courts (Stone Sweet 1989, 1992, 2000, 2002), and supranational bodies such as the European Commission (Wilks and Bartle 2002; Pollack 1997, 2003) and other international organizations (Nielson and Tierney 2003).
Functional rationales for explaining delegation centered on the outcomes that these unelected bodies were expected to deliver better than elected politicians, and which included providing long-term commitments credible to investors, enhancing the efficiency of policymaking, and better dealing with highly technical areas (Levy and Spiller 1994; Majone 1996, 1997; Thatcher and Stone Sweet 2002). However, rather than technical, Pareto-efficient decisions (where some benefit and no one is made worse off), NMIs have increasingly taken political decisions with clearly distributive implications and both winners and losers.
Furthermore, today, NMIs are commonly accused of having failed to deliver on their promises, having frequently led to rather unpopular outcomes (e.g., price rises, fiscal costs due to supervisory failures).