Responsible party Government in a world of interdependence

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This article opens up the closed model of the responsibility of a national government to its national electorate by adding constraints on its capacity to enact effective economic, national security and political policies. These constraints come from policy interdependence. The European Union exerts a denationalising influence through the Council, a multinational effect through the European Parliament, and the eurozone is designed as a transnational technocracy. Intergovernmental institutions spanning continents add further
constraints. The result is a growing gap between the efforts of a national government to deliver outputs that match the preferences of voters and a reduction in the capacity of national electorates to hold accountable institutions outside their country that have a major impact on national outcomes. The conclusion considers three prospective possibilities: a growing frustration with a policy-irrelevant rotation of parties in office; institutional reform at the supranational level; and a learning process in which a recognition of the constraints of interdependence leads to a change in expectations.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)253-269
Number of pages17
JournalWest European Politics
Issue number2
Early online date9 Apr 2014
Publication statusPublished - 2014


  • European Union
  • national politics
  • intergovernmental institutions


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