Incentives to comply: The impact of national governments’ and stakeholders’ preferences on compliance with EU laws

Robert Thomson, René Torenvlied, Andrew Judge

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6 Citations (Scopus)


Established explanations of differences in compliance outcomes highlight the policy preferences of implementers. The application of these theories to compliance with EU laws focuses on national governments and stakeholders. This study improves on existing conceptualisations of governments’ and stakeholders’ preferences by distinguishing between their incentives to deviate from, conform to and exceed the standards contained in EU laws. We apply these concepts to detailed evidence on national governments’ and stakeholders’ policy preferences and national governments’ transposition records. The study finds that incentives to conform and exceed are generally more frequent than incentives to deviate. Moreover, the policy preferences of national governments and stakeholders are linked, as governments’ preferences often agree with national stakeholders’ demands. Both national governments’ and stakeholders’ incentives to comply positively affect the timeliness of transposition.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1801-1818
Number of pages18
JournalJournal of European Public Policy
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2020


  • Compliance
  • interest groups
  • preferences
  • transposition

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