Research Repository

How European Union Membership Can Undermine the Rule of Law in Emerging Democracies

Slapin, Jonathan B (2015) 'How European Union Membership Can Undermine the Rule of Law in Emerging Democracies.' West European Politics, 38 (3). pp. 627-648. ISSN 0140-2382

ruleoflawundermined21Aug2014WEPR%26R.pdf - Accepted Version

Download (445kB) | Preview


The European Union views the spread of economic prosperity and rule of law to countries emerging from dictatorship as among its primary goals when considering countries as candidates for membership. Existing literature often suggests that EU membership confers significant benefits on the accession countries, and these countries are willing to undergo costly and difficult reforms to reap these benefits. Through strict membership conditions, member states force accession countries to commit to democracy. Drawing on theoretical work in the fields of law, politics, and economics, this article reassesses the conventional wisdom. It argues that, under certain conditions, the reforms required of would-be members could have the perverse effect of undermining the establishment of legitimate law in transitional democracies. Using an agent-based model, the article elucidates a theory in which placing laws on the books around which no societal consensus exists can create perverse incentives for citizens and government officials and may lead to an erosion of the rule of law.

Item Type: Article
Subjects: J Political Science > JA Political science (General)
Divisions: Faculty of Social Sciences
Faculty of Social Sciences > Government, Department of
SWORD Depositor: Elements
Depositing User: Elements
Date Deposited: 24 Sep 2015 16:16
Last Modified: 15 Jan 2022 00:46

Actions (login required)

View Item View Item