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Introduction to The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond

In: The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond

Author

Listed:
  • Barry Eichengreen

    (University of California, Berkeley)

Abstract

In 1945, many Europeans still heated with coal, cooled their food with ice, and lacked indoor plumbing. Today, things could hardly be more different. Over the second half of the twentieth century, the average European's buying power tripled, while working hours fell by a third. The European Economy since 1945 is a broad, accessible, forthright account of the extraordinary development of Europe's economy since the end of World War II. Barry Eichengreen argues that the continent's history has been critical to its economic performance, and that it will continue to be so going forward. Challenging standard views that basic economic forces were behind postwar Europe's success, Eichengreen shows how Western Europe in particular inherited a set of institutions singularly well suited to the economic circumstances that reigned for almost three decades. Economic growth was facilitated by solidarity-centered trade unions, cohesive employers' associations, and growth-minded governments--all legacies of Europe's earlier history. For example, these institutions worked together to mobilize savings, finance investment, and stabilize wages. However, this inheritance of economic and social institutions that was the solution until around 1973--when Europe had to switch from growth based on brute-force investment and the acquisition of known technologies to growth based on increased efficiency and innovation--then became the problem. Thus, the key questions for the future are whether Europe and its constituent nations can now adapt their institutions to the needs of a globalized knowledge economy, and whether in doing so, the continent's distinctive history will be an obstacle or an asset.

Suggested Citation

  • Barry Eichengreen, 2006. "Introduction to The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond," Introductory Chapters,in: The European Economy since 1945: Coordinated Capitalism and Beyond Princeton University Press.
  • Handle: RePEc:pup:chapts:8253-1
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    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. Mi educación sentimental en 10 (12) libros (I)
      by Cives in Politikon on 2012-05-11 14:07:09

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    Cited by:

    1. Brigitte Granville & Jaume Martorell Cruz & Martha Prevezer, 2015. "Elites, Thickets and Institutions: French Resistance versus German Adaptation to Economic Change, 1945-2015," Working Papers 63, Queen Mary, University of London, School of Business and Management, Centre for Globalisation Research.
    2. Brian A'Hearn & Anthony J. Venables, 2011. "Internal Geography and External Trade: regional disparities in Italy, 1861-2011," Quaderni di storia economica (Economic History Working Papers) 12, Bank of Italy, Economic Research and International Relations Area.
    3. Kushlin, Valery Ivanovich & Ustenko, V.S., 2016. "Analysis of International Experience of Intensification of Scientific and Innovative Activity in the Modern Unstable Conditions," Working Papers 2832, Russian Presidential Academy of National Economy and Public Administration.
    4. Wolfram Latsch, 2008. "The Possibility of Industrial Policy," Oxford Development Studies, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 36(1), pages 23-37.
    5. Duffy, David & Foley, Daniel & McQuinn, Kieran, 2016. "Cross Country Residential Investment Rates and the Implications for the Irish Housing Market," Quarterly Economic Commentary: Special Articles, Economic and Social Research Institute (ESRI).
    6. Bilin Neyapti, 2010. "Macroeconomic Institutions and Development," Books, Edward Elgar Publishing, number 12960, April.
    7. Chen Ding & Deakin Simon, 2015. "On Heaven’s Lathe: State, Rule of Law, and Economic Development," The Law and Development Review, De Gruyter, vol. 8(1), pages 123-145, June.
    8. Adrian Blundell-Wignall, 2010. "Discussion comments on "Exploring international migration and outsourcing through an institutional lens"," BIS Papers chapters,in: Globalisation, labour markets and international adjustment - Essays in honour of Palle S Andersen, volume 50, pages 107-113 Bank for International Settlements.
    9. Ding Chen & Simon Deakin, 2014. "On Heaven's Lathe: State, Rule of Law, & Economic Development," Working Papers wp464, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
    10. Fabian Bornhorst & Ashoka Mody, 2012. "Tests of German Resilience," IMF Working Papers 12/239, International Monetary Fund.
    11. Bornhorst, Fabian & Mody, Ashoka, 2012. "Test of the German resilience," CFS Working Paper Series 2012/14, Center for Financial Studies (CFS).

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