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Laboratory Federalism: The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) as an Evolutionary Learning Process

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  • ANA B. ANIA
  • ANDREAS WAGENER

Abstract

In view of the concept of laboratory federalism, the Open Method of Coordination (OMC), adopted by the EU as a mode of governance, can be interpreted as an imitative learning dynamics of the type considered in evolutionary game theory. Its iterative design and focus on good practice are captured by the behavioral rule “imitate the best.” In a redistribution game with utilitarian governments and mobile welfare recipients, we compare the outcomes of imitative behavior (long-run evolutionary equilibria) and decentralized best-response behavior (Nash equilibria). The learning dynamics leads to coordination on a strict subset of Nash equilibria, favoring policy choices that can be sustained by a simple majority of Member States.

Suggested Citation

  • Ana B. Ania & Andreas Wagener, 2014. "Laboratory Federalism: The Open Method of Coordination (OMC) as an Evolutionary Learning Process," Journal of Public Economic Theory, Association for Public Economic Theory, vol. 16(5), pages 767-795, October.
  • Handle: RePEc:bla:jpbect:v:16:y:2014:i:5:p:767-795
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    1. repec:spr:soinre:v:135:y:2018:i:2:d:10.1007_s11205-016-1504-1 is not listed on IDEAS
    2. Ania, Ana B. & Wagener, Andreas, 2016. "Decentralized redistribution in a laboratory federation," Journal of Urban Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(C), pages 49-59.
    3. Sebastian Strunz, Erik Gawel, and Paul Lehmann, 2015. "Towards a general Europeanization of EU Member States energy policies?," Economics of Energy & Environmental Policy, International Association for Energy Economics, vol. 0(Number 2).
    4. Andreas Wagener, 2016. "Evolutionary Stability in Fiscal Competition," CESifo Working Paper Series 5791, CESifo Group Munich.

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