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Do closer ties with the European Union lead to better governance? Empirical evidence on governance quality in South-Eastern Europe.

Open Panel

Abstract

A large body of work within the Europeanization literature examines EU’s effect on governance quality in member and accession countries. The qualitative research provides significant insights into the dynamics of EU conditionality in the process of accession to and closer relations with the EU. However, such findings are difficult to aggregate/generalize due to differences in focus, methodology and measurement. We aim to complement the existing findings by utilising the International Country Risk Guide (ICRG) dataset to estimate the impact of closer ties with the EU on perceived governance quality of South-Eastern European countries (including Albania, Bulgaria, Croatia, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, Romania, Serbia, Slovakia, Slovenia and Turkey). We aim to estimate the impact of closer ties with the EU on governance quality within the group as a whole and within individual countries - controllling for other possible determinants of governance quality such as per-capita GDP, openness to trade, unemployment, consumer confidence and poverty. Governance quality indicators to be analysed will include law and order, government stability, democratic accountability, control of corruption and bureaucratic quality. The paper aims to make two contributions to the debate. First, we aim to provide evidence on similarities and variations in EU’s impact on governance quality over time and with respect to different dimensions of governance. Secondly, we aim to differentiate between the impact of initial conditions (i.e., the impact of path dependence) and that of closer ties with the EU.