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What Does the European Union Do?

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  • Alberto Alesina
  • Ignazio Angeloni
  • Ludger Schuknecht

Abstract

The goal of this paper is to evaluate the attribution of policy prerogatives to European Union level institutions and compare them to the implications of normative policy models and to the preferences of European citizens. For this purpose we construct a set of indicators to measure the policy-making intensity of the European Union (European Council, Parliament, Commission, Court of Justice, etc.). We confirm that the extent and the intensity of policy-making by the EU have increased sharply over the last 30 years, but at different speeds, and in different degrees, across policy domains. In recent years the areas that have expanded most are quite remote from the EEC’s original mission of establishing a free market zone with common external trade policy. On the contrary some policy domains that would normally be attributed to the highest level of government remain at national level. We argue that the resulting allocation of prerogatives between the EU and member countries is partly inconsistent with normative criteria concerning the assignment of policies at different government levels, as laid out in the theoretical literature.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in its series EUI-RSCAS Working Papers with number 61.

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Date of creation: 15 Dec 2002
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Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0007

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Keywords: Treaty on European Union; political economy; subsidiarity; fiscal federalism;

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References

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  1. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro, 2002. "Currency Unions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 117(2), pages 409-436, May.
  2. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Banking Competition and European Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  3. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Unions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1939, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  4. Aghion, Philippe & Alesina, Alberto F & Trebbi, Francesco, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," CEPR Discussion Papers 3473, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  5. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
  6. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "Institutional Rules for Federations," NBER Working Papers 8646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  8. Robert Dur & Hein Roelfsema, 2005. "Why does centralisation fail to internalise policy externalities?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 395-416, March.
  9. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 301-356 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  10. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1999. "Is Europe going too far?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-42, December.
  11. Alberto Alesina & David Dollar, 1998. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," NBER Working Papers 6612, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Boeri, Tito, 2000. "Social Europe: Dramatic Visions and Real Complexity," CEPR Discussion Papers 2371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662918.
  14. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1995. "On the Number and Size of Nations," NBER Working Papers 5050, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  15. Michele Boldrin & Fabio Canova, 2001. "Inequality and convergence in Europe's regions: reconsidering European regional policies," Economic Policy, CEPR & CES & MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 205-253, 04.
  16. Issing,Otmar & Gaspar,Vitor & Angeloni,Ignazio & Tristani,Oreste, 2001. "Monetary Policy in the Euro Area," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521788885.
  17. Issing,Otmar & Gaspar,Vitor & Angeloni,Ignazio & Tristani,Oreste, 2001. "Monetary Policy in the Euro Area," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521783248, Fall.
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