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What Is European Integration Really About? A Political Guide for Economists

  • Enrico Spolaore

Europe's monetary union is part of a broader process of integration that started in the aftermath of World War II. In this "political guide for economists," we look at the creation of the euro within the bigger picture of European integration. How and why were European institutions established? What is European integration really about? We address these questions from a political-economy perspective, building on ideas and results from the economic literature on the formation of states and political unions. Specifically, we look at the motivations, assumptions, and limitations of the European strategy initiated by Jean Monnet and his collaborators of partially integrating policy functions in a few areas with the expectation that more integration will follow in other areas in a sort of chain reaction toward an "ever-closer union." The euro with its current problems is a child of that strategy and its limits.

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File URL: http://www.aeaweb.org/articles.php?doi=10.1257/jep.27.3.125
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Article provided by American Economic Association in its journal Journal of Economic Perspectives.

Volume (Year): 27 (2013)
Issue (Month): 3 (Summer)
Pages: 125-44

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Handle: RePEc:aea:jecper:v:27:y:2013:i:3:p:125-44
Note: DOI: 10.1257/jep.27.3.125
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  1. Jeffrey A. Frankel & Andrew K. Rose, 1996. "The Endogeneity of the Optimum Currency Area Criteria," NBER Working Papers 5700, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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  10. Philip R. Lane, 2012. "The European Sovereign Debt Crisis," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 26(3), pages 49-68, Summer.
  11. Perotti, Roberto & Alesina, Alberto, 2004. "The European Union: A Politically Incorrect View," Scholarly Articles 4553004, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  12. Klaus Desmet & Ignacio Ortuno-Ortin & Shlomo Weber , 2008. "Linguistic Diversity and Redistribution ," Working Papers 004-08, International School of Economics at TSU, Tbilisi, Republic of Georgia.
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