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Specific Enlargement and the EU Enlargement


  • Wallner, Klaus


This Paper analyses a hold-up problem in the EU enlargement process. EU-specific anticipatory investments of private firms lower the governments outside option. The EU takes advantage of the applicants' increased dependency and extracts more surpluses through entrance conditions that benefit it and impose huge costs on applicants. If private firms pay less than the full entrance fee in taxes, enlargement immiserises the entrant. While in practice an applicant may possess sufficient bargaining power to avoid immiserisation, the hold-up problem reduces its potential gains from joining the EU. This result suggests that previous calculations, ignoring both the applicants' costs of joining the EU and the dynamics of their bargaining position during the negotiations, overestimate the welfare effects of membership.

Suggested Citation

  • Wallner, Klaus, 2001. "Specific Enlargement and the EU Enlargement," CEPR Discussion Papers 2837, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:2837

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    More about this item


    EU Enlargement; Hold-up Problems; Sunk Costs;

    JEL classification:

    • D71 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Social Choice; Clubs; Committees; Associations
    • F02 - International Economics - - General - - - International Economic Order and Integration
    • F15 - International Economics - - Trade - - - Economic Integration


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