Rational institutionalism, constructivism or both? A spatial econometric approach to measuring the impact of incentives and socialization in the European Neighbourhood Policy

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Introduction Rational institutionalists predict that the European Neighbourhood Policy (ENP) would induce change in participating countries through conditionality and incentives (Schimmelfennig 2008). Constructivists anticipate that the European Union (EU) would influence its partners by socializing them into its norms (Börzel and Risse 2012). There are very few empirically informed accounts of the interplay between these two sets of hypotheses. This chapter aims to fill this gap and begin to answer the fundamental questions of whether, how and when the ENP influences countries, and whether it does so through socialization or through material ‘sticks’ and ‘carrots’. This is done through an analysis focusing on the impact of the European Neighbourhood Policy on human rights in participating countries. The analysis focuses on human rights for conceptual and methodological reasons. First, human rights form part of the EU’s core norms. Second, the susceptibility of the policy area of human rights to external influence is wellestablished in research (Hafner-Burton 2014), making it a ‘most likely case’ for ENP normative influence. Third, data availability and reliability provide another reason to focus on this well-documented area of state practice (Cingranelli and Richards 2010). Fourth, the promotion of human rights indirectly supports all of the policy’s objectives (Blume and Voigt 2007; Thoms and Ron 2007). Lastly, human rights violations in the neighbourhood present serious challenges to European countries and to the EU, not the least among which is the recent surge in refugee flows. There is therefore a timely need to find ways of improving human rights protection in the neighbourhood. In this chapter I model conditionality and socialization as potential convergence mechanisms. I use a spatial econometric approach to identify when and how material rewards and socialization influence human rights. The chapter shows that the EU influences its neighbours using ‘sticks’ rather than ‘carrots’, and that socialization works in conjunction with ‘sticks’. The combination of these instruments induces change in target countries. Over time, a process of

socialization unfolds independently of material incentives. This contrasts with the rather immediate effect of incentives. The impact of both mechanisms lingers on for a few years, and ultimately fades in the absence of renewed incentives and maintained positive example. These results cut across regional divisions. The chapter contributes to theorizing the ENP by codifying and analyzing the effectiveness of the ENP toolbox, which has hitherto been studied mainly through qualitative case studies (for instance, Gawrich et al. 2010; Kausch 2009; Korosteleva 2009; Langbein and Wolczuk 2011; Schmidtke and Chira-Pascanut 2011; Seeberg 2009). The chapter contributes to a precise, robust and evidence-based assessment of the effectiveness of the policy and its various sub-instruments. It offers a theoretical contribution as it tests competing hypotheses regarding the impact of punishments versus rewards, and the interplay between incentives and socialization. The findings have policy implications because they identify which tools are most effective under what conditions and show that the EU is getting a return on its investments in terms of increased influence through financial assistance and that this return is enhanced by positive examples provided by EU member states. The chapter is structured as follows. The next section reviews the determinants of human rights policies. The second section describes the toolbox of the ENP. The third section defines convergence mechanisms. The fourth describes the data and methods used in this chapter. The fifth section presents and discusses the findings.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationTheorizing the European neighbourhood policy
EditorsSieglinde Gstöhl, Simon Schunz
Place of PublicationLondon
Number of pages19
ISBN (Electronic)9781315468686
ISBN (Print)9781138204799
StatePublished - 19 Dec 2016


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