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Integrity and Efficiency in the EU: The Case against the European economic constitution

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Author Info

  • Eloi Laurent

    (OFCE)

  • Jacques Le Cacheux

    (OFCE)

Abstract

The European Constitutional Treaty (ECT) was presented by its drafters as an explicit constitution for the European Union (EU 25). A possible explanation for its rejection by the French and Dutch citizens in the course of spring 2005 is that it did not sufficiently amend the implicit constitution of the EU 25, the European Union Treaty (EUT), which was truly the object of voters’ aversion. Assuming this to be true, there should be a thorough debate on the relevance and viability of the de facto current constitution of the European Union. In this paper, we engage in this debate by identifying what is essentially wrong with the economic provisions of the EUT, which we designate as the “European economic constitution.” Using a constitutional political economy approach, we first attempt to demonstrate that both what we define as the “principle of integrity” and the “principle of efficiency” of collective action appear to be violated by the European economic constitution. This occurs, respectively, because its provisions are not neutral, nor revisable, and because they do not sufficiently allow for the possibility of cooperative collective decision (leading to convergence in welfare) in a more than ever numerous and heterogeneous EU. Our essential argument in this respect regards the implications of the structurally different economic performances and incentives of small and large countries under the European economic constitution. Finally, since the present European trade-off between “integrity” and “efficiency” appears sub-optimal, we present two original ways of achieving potentially better ones in the EU, through a “Great compromise” or “Economic constitution(s),” expressing a preference for the latter.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Sciences Po in its series Sciences Po publications with number 130.

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Date of creation: 2006
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Handle: RePEc:spo:wpmain:info:hdl:2441/3531

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References

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  1. Dennis Mueller, 2005. "Constitutional political economy in the European Union," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 124(1), pages 57-73, July.
  2. Eloi Laurent, 2007. "From Competition to Constitution: Races to Bottoms and the Rise of ‘Shadow’ Social Europe," Sciences Po publications 137, Sciences Po.
  3. Jerome Creel & Eloi Laurent & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2005. "Delegation in inconsistency: the Lisbon strategy record as an institutional failure," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2005-07, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).
  4. Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (I): Production," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 1, number mill1848-1.
  5. Jacques Le Cacheux, 2005. "Politiques de croissance en Europe. Un problème d'action collective," Revue économique, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 56(3), pages 705-713.
  6. Eloi Laurent & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2004. "'L’Europe boucles d’or' : Trois maximes pour sortir d’une impasse," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2121, Sciences Po.
  7. Eloi Laurent & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2003. "Constitution Européenne : l'union politique dans les limbes," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2123, Sciences Po.
  8. DeMeyer, Frank & Plott, Charles R, 1970. "The Probability of a Cyclical Majority," Econometrica, Econometric Society, vol. 38(2), pages 345-54, March.
  9. Eloi Laurent, 2005. "La croissance du progrès social (fiche de lecture)," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/3481, Sciences Po.
  10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-91, June.
  11. Layard, Richard & Nickell, Stephen & Jackman, Richard, 1991. "Unemployment: Macroeconomic Performance and the Labour Market," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780198284345.
  12. Rodrik, Dani, 1996. "Why do More Open Economies Have Bigger Governments?," CEPR Discussion Papers 1388, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  13. Cindy Skach, 2005. "We, the Peoples? Constitutionalizing the European Union," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(1), pages 149-170, 03.
  14. Mill, John Stuart, 1848. "Principles of Political Economy (III): Exchange," History of Economic Thought Books, McMaster University Archive for the History of Economic Thought, volume 3, number mill1848-3.
  15. Scharpf, Fritz W., 2002. "The European Social Model: Coping with the challenges of diversity," MPIfG Working Paper 02/8, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  16. Éloi Laurent, 2005. "La croissance du progrès social," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 93(2), pages 357-366.
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Citations

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Cited by:
  1. Jérôme Creel & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2006. "La nouvelle désinflation compétitive européenne," Revue de l'OFCE, Presses de Sciences-Po, vol. 98(3), pages 7-36.
  2. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/2139 is not listed on IDEAS
  3. Bucciarelli Edgardo & Pagliari Carmen & Muratore Fabrizio, 2010. "European Labour Productivity And Corporate E-Learning Activities: An Empirical Analysis," Annals of Faculty of Economics, University of Oradea, Faculty of Economics, vol. 1(1), pages 170-177, July.
  4. Eloi Laurent & Jérôme Creel & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2007. "Politiques et performances macroéconomiques de la zone euro : institutions, incitations, stratégies," Sciences Po publications 2007-23, Sciences Po.
  5. Eloi Laurent & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2007. "The Irish Tiger and the German Frog: A Tale of Size and Growth in the Euro Area," Sciences Po publications 2007-31, Sciences Po.
  6. Henrik Enderlein & Iain Begg & Mojmir Mrak & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2008. "Financing of the European Union Budget," Sciences Po publications Contract No 30-CE-0122101, Sciences Po.
  7. Eloi Laurent, 2008. "Economic consequences of the size of nations, 50 years on," Sciences Po publications 2008-26, Sciences Po.
  8. Jérôme Creel & Eloi Laurent & Jacques Le Cacheux, 2007. "La politique de change de la zone euro ou le hold-up tranquille de la BCE," Sciences Po publications info:hdl:2441/2084, Sciences Po.
  9. repec:spo:wpecon:info:hdl:2441/2085 is not listed on IDEAS
  10. Olfa Alouini, 2009. "Country size, economic performance and the political economy of the euro zone : an empirical study of the size divide," Documents de Travail de l'OFCE 2007-01, Observatoire Francais des Conjonctures Economiques (OFCE).

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