2019-2020 EUSA Best Book Award

Best Book 2019-2020

The European Union Studies Association (EUSA) is delighted to announce that the book The Responsive Union: National Elections and European Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2019) by Christina J. Schneider (UC San Diego) was awarded the 2021 EUSA Best Book prize.

Our award jury – comprised of Lenka Bustikova (Arizona State University), Christopher Williams (University of Arkansas, Little Rock), and Sara Wallace Goodman (UC Irvine) – also recognized Europe’s Crisis of Legitimacy (OUP 2020) by Vivien A. Schmidt (Boston University) with an “Honorable Mention.”

The selection committee wrote the following recommendation for the 2021 EUSA Best Book Award:

Christina J. Schneider’s The Responsive Union: National Elections and European Governance (Cambridge University Press, 2019) presents an important account of strategic policymaking and response signaling by the European Union. Schneider skillfully navigates a variety of theoretical suppositions and empirical tests—ranging from carefully-designed conjoint survey experiments to time series analysis of EU budget distribution—to illustrate how European governments use public commitments in negotiations within the intergovernmental Council of the European Union to signal responsiveness to their electorates. The book’s key insight—that response signaling coincides with national elections—highlights the influential, and often hidden, bargaining environment in international organizations like the EU. Through this engagement, Schneider argues, citizens come to support EU works and how governments use strategic signals of responsiveness to cope with mass demands.

The committee believes this work provides a critical bridge for thinking about public opinion and EU institutions. Against conventional wisdom that the EU has become technocratic and distant from its citizens, this book deftly shows both its enduring political nature and close, if opaque, connections to EU citizens. The book stands out for its parsimonious theorization and high execution of analysis.