Why do legislators invest scarce time and resources into forming and maintaining voluntary groups that provide few obvious benefits? Legislative member organizations (LMOs)—such as caucuses in the US Congress and intergroups in the European Parliament (EP)—exist in numerous law-making bodies around the world. Yet unlike parties and committees, LMOs play no obvious and pre-defined role in the legislative process. We argue that LMOs provide legislators with opportunities to establish social relationships with colleagues with whom they share a common interest in an issue or theme. The social networks composed of these relationships, in turn, offer valuable opportunity structures for the efficient exchange of policy-relevant information between legislative offices. Building on classic insights from the study of social networks, the authors demonstrate that LMO networks are composed of weak, bridging ties that cut across party and committee lines, thus providing lawmakers with access to otherwise unattainable information and making all members of the network better informed.
Dr. Nils Ringe is an Associate Professor at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.
Multinational companies operating in the European Union are facing huge challenges as they are confronted by recent employment law changes that cut across cultures and borders and underscore the important role social rights play in the management of human resources.
Christian Schneider is associate director of the Wharton School Center for Human Resources.
For most ordinary Europeans one of the greatest successes of the European Union is the legal right to move freely across all 28 states of the Union, to set up home, work and be entitled to the social benefits provided by that country – these are established nationally rather than at EU level. While the right to a minimum of paid holiday and maternity leave have been agreed among all 28 EU countries, the level of unemployment benefit, access to healthcare and child support etc. vary from country to country.
CEUCE is pleased to announce a new certificate offering for CU students, The Certificate in European Union Studies. This certification will allow students in the range of social science and humanities programs to pursue a specialization in the European Union (EU). This program is of particular interest to students majoring in International Affairs or Political Science, although the program is open to students in other disciplines.
Excessive fiscal spending is commonly cited as a root of the current European debt crisis. This paper suggests, like others, that the rise of competitiveness imbalances contributing to national imbalances in total borrowing are a better explanation for systemic differences towards EMU countries’ exposure to market speculation. We identify one driver of this divergence: a country’s capacity to limit sheltered sector wage growth, relative to wage growth in the manufacturing sector. Corporatist institutions which linked sectoral wage developments together in the surplus countries provided those with a comparative wage advantage vis-à-vis EMU’s debtor nations, which helps explain why the EMU core has emerged relatively unscathed from market speculation during the crisis despite the poor fiscal performance of some of the core countries during EMU’s early years.