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Power to the European Supervisory Authorities: Preference-driven Incrementalism in the Evolution of European Financial Regulation

Aneta Spendzharova

What explains the incremental nature of European financial regulatory reforms after the 2008 financial crisis despite the unequalled opportunity for radical institutional redesign? This article tests two alternative accounts of the observed outcome. The first account focuses on historical institutionalist mechanisms such as path dependence, policy feedback effects, and mobilized constituencies. The second explanation draws on rational choice institutionalism and emphasizes preference convergence in pursuit of collective action at the supranational level. The empirical analysis shows that incremental reform can be consistent with a rational choice institutionalist account of decision-making, which is a novel application of incrementalism in the literature.

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