The evolution of EU legislation (graphed with ggplot2 and R)

During the last half century the European Union has adopted more than 100 000 pieces of legislation. In this presentation I look into the patterns of legislative adoption over time. I tried to create clear and engaging graphs that provide some insight into the evolution of law-making activity: not an easy task given the byzantine nature of policy making in the EU and the complex nomenclature of types of legal acts possible.

The main plot showing the number of adopted directives, regulations and decisions since 1967 is pasted below. There is much more in the presentation. The time series data is available here, as well as the R script used to generate the plots (using ggplot2). Some of the graphs are also available as interactive visualizations via ManyEyes here, here, and here (requires Java). Enjoy.

EU laws over time

More than you ever wanted to know about compliance with EU law in Europe

I  spent the last week finalizing a  review of the literature  on compliance with EU  law at the national level. It was a rather masochistic experience which I had promised  myself never to repeat but alas… This time at least somebody will take note it since I am going to present it next week to a small workshop in Berlin. Here is the abstract:

This article introduces two bibliographical databases that provide systematic overviews of the existing statistical and qualitative academic research on (non)compliance with EU law and takes stock of the state of the art of the literature. Reviewing more than 35 statistical analyses and 80 small-N studies, I find that a small but coherent set of inferences emerges from the scholarship: transposition and practical application of EU law is limited by administrative capacity and prone to domestic conflicts spurred by the adaptation to the European rules. Political institutions influence the potential for such conflict while co-ordination and oversight mechanisms can enhance compliance. Beyond this core account, scholars disagree about the influence of policy misfit, individual preferences of domestic actors and a myriad of other variables being analyzed. I discuss matching, multi-level modeling and better case selection for qualitative studies as ways to move beyond these controversies and deliver more policy-relevant knowledge about the causes of (non)compliance with EU rules.

If you want to read more, here is a link to the full version and a link to a very short summary.