Strategic power in the European Union: Evaluating the distribution of power in policy games

Bernard Steunenberg, Dieter Schmidtchen, Christian Koboldt

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71 Citations (Scopus)
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In this paper we propose a new method to evaluate the distribution of power between decision-making bodies in the European Union. Conventional methods that measure the voting power of players, such as the Banzhaf, Johnston, Holler and Shapley-Shubik indices, are insufficient for this purpose. They take no account, in an endogenous way, of the differences in the abilities of players to affect the outcome of decision-making, which are a result of the existence of political institutions. We propose a different way to measure decision-making power based on the distance between a player's ideal point and the equilibrium outcome of a game. While all previous indices are based on cooperative game theory, the index developed in this paper is based on non-cooperative game theory, which has been the dominant thrust of theoretical politics and economics in the last years. The new index is applied to legislative procedures in the European Union.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)339-366
Number of pages28
JournalJournal of accountancy
Issue number11
Publication statusPublished - 1999


  • European Union
  • Non-cooperative game theory
  • Political institutions
  • Strategic power index
  • Voting power indices

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