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World Politics

Vol. 65, No.3

July 2013

Globalizing Electoral Politics: Political Competence and Distributional Bargaining in the European Union

By Christina J. Schneider

This article analyzes electoral cycles in distributional bargaining in the European Union. The author argues that governments attempt to increase their EU membership benefits above average levels in the preelection period, hoping to appear politically competent to voters. The theory discusses when and how EU members can increase these gains before elections through negotiations in the Council of Ministers. A time-series cross-sectional analysis of EU member states’ annual budget negotiations from 1977 to 2006 supports the existence of conditional electoral cycles in distributional bargaining and generally points to the importance of accounting for such cycles when analyzing patterns of international cooperation.

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