Over the past 30 years European Union legislators have established 34 agencies invested with a wide array of executive tasks. How significant are these new institutions in the implementation of major EU measures? This article extends our understanding of delegation dynamics in the EU by offering original empirical evidence about the reliance of EU legislators upon EU-level bureaucratic agents beyond the Commission. After introducing a new longitudinal dataset (1985–2016) of salient EU secondary legislation, by means of a quantitative analysis, the article tests three hypotheses drawn from the theories of delegation and bureaucratic behaviour. Results show that the likelihood of relying on an agency for implementation increases with the initial growth of the Commission’s policy-making powers, but then decreases significantly when the Commission reaches high levels of policy competences. Moreover, the probability of relying on agencies is positively affected by the complexity of the policy issue at stake.
Marta Migliorati (2019) Relying on agencies in major European Union legislative measures, West European Politics.