With the introduction of ChatGPT and similar tools based on artificial intelligence (AI), public debates have sparked renewed interest about the challenges and opportunities of artificial intelligence. In this article, Mark Nitzberg and John Zysman discuss how AI can and should be governed from a national and global perspective. They argue that challenges of governing AI cannot be considered in isolation but in the larger context of a ‘toolbox’ that includes algorithms, data, processing power. And even more importantly, both platform firms and the platform technology itself need to be governed because they generate big data on which AI tools can operate. To strike a balance between encouraging the potential while minimizing the risk of AI, according to Mark and John, governing this toolbox needs to focus on two complementary approaches. One needs to focus on sector-specific applications to account for variations in gains and costs depending on the purpose and domain where it is applied. The other approach should focus on overarching principles and rules that cut across many social domains and economic sectors. However, since AI is identified as a critical component for national success and a global debate on AI beyond ethical expressions is unlikely, the article concludes that rather than a mutual agreement on a set of goals and market/social rules, governing AI should have the objectives of interoperability amongst nations with sometimes fundamentally different political economies.
Drivers of parliamentary opposition in European Union politics: institutional factors or party characteristics?
How do institutional factors and party characteristics shape parliamentary opposition in EU politics, ask Thomas Persson, Christer Karlsson, Felix Lehmann & Moa Mårtensson in this recently published article. They introduce the idea that opposition can either take the form of expressing critique (e.g., influencing or shaping policy-making) or providing alternatives (e.g., providing different policies or methods), and argue that the strength of oversight mechanisms as well as Euroscepticism of a party determines which form of opposition MPs choose to use. To test this argument, Thomas, Christer, Felix and Moa analyse more than 7,500 statements of MPs Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Sweden and the United Kingdom during plenary sessions and deliberations during European Affairs Committee meetings. The analyses demonstrate that in the absence of strong oversight mechanisms, MPs primarily make use of opposition in form of critique. Additionally, and unsurprisingly, MPs belonging to Eurosceptic parties are champions of opposition both in form of expressing critique and presenting alternatives. Most interestingly, however, the results show that in contrast to members of Eurosceptic parties who engage in oppositional behavior irrespective of institutional contexts, MPs from Europhile parties seem to regard formal oversight mechanisms partly as a substitute for expressing opposition. With these findings, the article provides a more nuanced picture about the drivers of oppositional behavior in EU politics, it prompts future research to take into account the interplay between institutional set-ups and party characteristics when analyzing parliamentary opposition.
The varying effect of court-curbing: evidence from Hungary and Poland
In recent years, several governments have tried to limit judicial power with court-curbing policies. Two of the countries that have witnessed constraints of judicial power lately are Hungary and Poland. Analyzing these developments, Aylin Aydin-Cakir’s article introduces the categorization of formal and informal court-cubing and explains why different court-curbing attempts affect judicial independence differently. Aylin argues that public discontent should be higher when the government tries to weaken the judiciary through informal court-curbing (i.e., unconstitutional strategies like unilaterally removing or threatening to remove judges from office). Constraining the judiciary in this way, lacks a solid legal framework, and should more extensively decrease public confidence in the judiciary. By contrast, formal court-cubing such as restructuring the judiciary via constitutional and legal reforms, should not decrease the perceived legitimacy of the ‘new’ constitutional court at least until these legal changes go into effect. Through a high level of public confidence, the judiciary might feel powerful and judges might continue to behave assertively vis-à-vis governmental policies. Employing the innovative synthetic control method, the article demonstrates that informal court-curbing as used by the PiS in Poland has indeed a greater negative impact on judicial independence and on public confidence in the judiciary than Fidesz’s predominantly formal court-curbing in Hungary. This study, thus, presents public confidence as an important moderating factor that can mitigate the overall negative impact of court-curbing on the independence of the judiciary.
Happy Holiday Season!
Dear friends of JEPP:
We are looking back to an eventful year and thank our dear reviewers, authors and readers for producing great research, constructively commenting on manuscripts and continuously engaging with the pieces published in JEPP. Looking ahead, 2023 marks JEPP’s 30th anniversary and hopefully Jeremy will share some anecdotes about how everything started with us. We promise to have some interesting features throughout the year, celebrating some of the best contributions to JEPP throughout the past three decades.
But before we start the new year, we all will enjoy some quiet days in the sun or the snow. Scroll down to read more about our plans. Hopefully, all of you can also enjoy a well-deserved break over the holidays. We are looking forward to seeing you in the next year! Stay tuned for our upcoming issues, debate sections and special issues. Follow us on Twitter (@jepp_journal), read and subscribe to our newsletter.
Season’s greetings and all good wishes,
Your JEPP team
Over the holiday, Berthold & Jess had every intention to spend as much time in the snow as possible, provided there is any left. There is reason to be hopeful: For the first time in a very long time, visiting a Christmas market in December in my upper Bavarian village required wearing a proper coat rather than a T-Shirt. But then came another round of Covid, and hence maybe looking at the snow will be just as fine. That’s also what Semih, the mouser-in-chief, prefers anyway. He and his buddy Valter (see picture) are ready to welcome 2023. Stay safe & take care, everyone!
Sonia and I will spend our usual Christmas at Akaroa, and hope to do the same Boxing Day walk as we did last year (see photo). Boxing Day is also BBQ day, though I have been demoted to serving only drinks this year. Alas, Tess and Molly’s partners are, respectively, Australian (Billy) and Kiwi (Iain), and so trump any Englishman in this fiercely competitive Australasian sport. Our dog, Murphy, tells me he doesn’t give a bugger who runs the BBQ. It all tastes the same to him (and he always wins the ‘fastest eater’ prize anyway!).
Michael and his family are celebrating the return of Christmas markets – Glühwein & cotton candy – and will spend a week with his mother, sister & family in Erlangen, otherwise he stays in Munich. For Michael, this will probably be a very “normal” Christmas break – compared to the previous Covid-years and compared to his new Ukrainian neighbours. After the holidays, he looks forward to many new JEPP debate and research agenda section proposals.
Sarah and Alex are excited to be hosting some of the holiday celebrations in Innsbruck this year. The only thing that stands in the way of the festivities is the question about how to fit the extended family into the apartment. Once all the guests have left after the Christmas hustle and bustle, she will devote herself to Tilda’s new passion of sledging and hopefully find some time for skiing. Thus, as Berthold, she hopes for cold temperatures and lots of snow.
Detecting anticipatory design strategies: the case of asylum policy in Italy
Increasing levels of polarization enhance the pressure for policy regimes to change even if they are highly institutionalized. Based on this idea, Marco Di Giulio and Stella Gianfreda investigate how anticipatory policy design affects liberal migration policy regimes in times of growing securitization. Their analysis of the Italian asylum policy shows that anticipatory strategies of both “entrenchers” and “dismantlers” are relevant to understand the dynamics of change. Even in the Italian context where dismantling forces have profoundly shaped the national policy regime, entrenchment strategies (e.g., providing incentives to foster compliance) have proved effective in stabilizing and renovating liberal institutions. Beyond these insights that policy dynamics may emerge as in-coherent and stratified policy mixes, the article calls for further micro-level analysis to complement existing macro-level studies on migration policy change in order to shed light on how agency may or may nor shape future changes of policy regimes
Voting Green in European Parliament elections: issue voting in an electoral context
To what extent can national electoral contexts explain citizens’ vote for Green parties in EP elections? JeongHun Han and Daniel Finke argue that in EP elections, voters express their sincere environmental issue preference rather than their dissatisfaction with the performance of national mainstream parties. Analyzing voter survey data from the 2019 EP election, JeongHun and Daniel demonstrate that genuine environmental preferences indeed drive support for a Green party. Interestingly, green issue voting tends to be stronger for small Green parties than for large ones and if the Green party owns the environmental issue. Additionally, the party system matters: sincere voting for Green parties is particularly relevant in contexts in which mainstream parties also pick up environmental and climate policies. Overall, this research indicates that first-order motives become increasingly decisive for understanding vote choice in EP elections while previous second-order characteristics seem to lose some of their explanatory power.
Representation in times of crisis: women’s executive presence and gender-sensitive policy responses to crises
Especially during the early phase of the COVID-19 pandemic, women heads of government were praised for their seemingly better performance in leading their countries through this health crisis. Making use of the unique circumstances of the global pandemic, Jessica C. Smith sheds light on how the gender composition of government impacts national responses to the crisis. Based on data from the UN COVID-19 Global Gender Response Tracker, her analysis of 62 countries demonstrates that the presence of women in government matters in two ways. First, women-led countries have more gender diverse COVID-19 task forces compared to those led by men. Second, women’s participation in these task forces increases the likelihood that the policy responses will be gender-sensitive. Hence, in addition to normative reasons advocating for the representation of women beyond elected bodies, Jessica’s research provides evidence that women’s presence can ensure that measures implemented to cope with crisis situations take gender inequalities into account and thus make for better policies
NGOs as new Guardians of the Treaties? Analysing the effectiveness of NGOs as decentralised enforcers of EU law
The EU increasingly relies on national stake-holders such as NGOs to raise non-compliance issues before national courts. In particular the environmental sector has witnessed a shift from centralized infringement procedures initiated by the European Commission to decentralized enforcement by private actors. To shed light on the work and effectiveness of national enforcers, Konstantin Reiners and Esther Versluis analyze the actions taken by the German NGO Deutsche Umwelthilfe to encourage compliance of German States with the Ambient Air Quality Directive. In their case study they show that the NGO mostly used litigation (i.e., initiating a high number of legal proceedings) to increase the salience of the topic in national debates and the media. The interplay of public pressure caused by increased issue salience of air quality and legal pressure has positively affected compliance by German states. Overall, these insights indicate that private actors such as NGOS can indeed play a crucial role as additional guardians of the Treaties to tackle national compliance deficits.
‘All hands on deck’ or separate lifeboats? Public support for European economic solidarity during the Covid-19 pandemic
To assist countries most affected by the Covid-19 pandemic, the EU launched the largest aid package in its history. Monika Bauhr and Nicholas Charron make use of this unprecedented course of action and analyze the factors that drive public support for international aid in times of crises. A vignette survey experiment conducted in 25 European countries provides evidence that elite cues are more consequential for public support than receiving information about the aid package. In particular, national governments’ endorsement for financial assistance increases the likelihood to support a European-wide response to the pandemic. By contrast, details on the package do not influence public opinion in either direction. The study thus implies that domestic governments can play a crucial role in swaying citizens’ opinion on redistribution within the EU as well as future EU integration.
From learning to influence: the evolution of collaboration in European Administrative Networks
European Administrative Networks (EANs) are a distinctive feature of the EU governance system that aim to foster regulatory harmonization. Even though they have been operational for more than two decades, we know little about how they react to changes in their policy environment. To fill this gap in the literature, Francesca Pia Vantaggiato conceptualizes EANs as dynamic social networks. A Bayesian network model of the Council of European Energy Regulators’ structure shows that the collaboration has shifted from learning (i.e., exchanging information) to a cohesive structure of cooperation aiming to inform and influence EU policy-making. The article thus provides a first step towards conceptualizing and operationalizing the processes of evolution of EANs.