British Journal of Political Science vol:45 issue:3 pages:477-499
We develop a game-theoretical model of European Union (EU) policy making which suggests that the amount of legislative activity depends on the size of the gridlock interval, consistent with Krehbiel’s study of US politics. This interval depends on two factors: (1) the preference configuration of the political actors; and (2) the legislative procedures used in a particular period. Actors’ preferences and the procedures are not expected to have any effect beyond their impact on the gridlock interval. We predict smaller gridlock intervals, and thus more legislative activity, under the co-decision (consultation) procedure when the pivotal member states and the European Parliament (Commission) are closer to each other. Furthermore, we expect more activity under qualified majority voting in the Council than under unanimity. We find support for these propositions in an empirical analysis of EU legislative activity between 1979 and 2009.