Financial instruments and the governance of EU Cohesion policy : roles, responsibilities and accountability

Student thesis: Doctoral Thesis

Abstract

From the 2007-13 programming period, financial instruments (FI) introduced a distinct new strand to CP governance. They created new structures and delegated implementation responsibilities to new actors. This thesis explores the implications of the new modes of governance for the relationships between actors and the relationship between delegation modes and public accountability in the delivery of FI. It contributes to principal-agent, multi-level governance and public accountability theory.First, it identifies a typical governance structure for FI implementation. This fills a gap in the study of CP governance as the focus is on the relations within the levels of governance (‘intra-level’ governance); second, it argues that managing authorities have strong tools to ensure accountability in policy implementation; third, it claims that rationale and the historic-economic context influence the public accountability for FI implementation.The thesis contributes to policy studies by feeding into the debates on the future of FI and by identifying improvements in FI evaluation. The thesis uses a mixed-methods research design, in which a quantitative component (a survey) is embedded in a qualitative component (case studies). It focuses on the outcomes of 2007-13 to draw implications for the following programming periods.The thesis identifies three delegation modes in the European Union (EU), based on the legal status of fund managers: a public mode (as in Germany); a private mode (as in the United Kingdom); and a mixed delegation mode (as in Italy). The survey data show that evaluation should expand the set of key indicators to assess FI performance and improve existing ones. The survey and case studies in Berlin, Tuscany and North East England uncover the distribution of roles, responsibilities and accountability mechanisms.First, multiple principal–agent interactions characterize delegation in financial instrument implementation. Across all the case studies, most of the formal responsibilities were delegated by managing authorities to fund managers, via intermediate–level actors, while the actual autonomy of fund managers in exercising such responsibilities varied in each case study. Second, managing authorities use a distinctive mix of control mechanisms and performance frameworks to ensure public accountability for FI implementation. This mix depends on the rationale for FI use and the policy objectives. Last, some of the variation is also explained by delegation modes.
Date of Award26 Sep 2019
Original languageEnglish
Awarding Institution
  • University Of Strathclyde
SupervisorJohn Bachtler (Supervisor) & Fiona Wishlade (Supervisor)

Cite this