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What Does the European Union Do?

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  • Alesina, Alberto F
  • Angeloni, Ignazio
  • Schuknecht, Ludger

Abstract

We construct a set of indicators to measure the policy-making role of the European Union (European Council, Parliament, Commission, Court of Justice, etc.), in a selected number of policy domains. Our goal is to examine the division of prerogatives between European institutions and national ones, in light of the implications of normative models and in relation to the preferences of European citizens. Our data confirm that the extent and the intensity of policy-making by the EU have increased sharply over the last 30 years. Such increase has taken place at different speeds, and to different degrees, across policy domains. In recent times the areas that have expanded most are the most remote from the EEC's original mission of establishing a free market zone with common external trade policy. We conjecture that the resulting allocation may be partly inconsistent with normative criteria concerning the assignment of policies at different government levels, as laid out in the theoretical literature.

Suggested Citation

  • Alesina, Alberto F & Angeloni, Ignazio & Schuknecht, Ludger, 2002. "What Does the European Union Do?," CEPR Discussion Papers 3115, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  • Handle: RePEc:cpr:ceprdp:3115
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Alberto Alesina & Enrico Spolaore, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-1056.
    2. Mark A. Pollack, 2000. "The End of Creeping Competence? EU Policy‐Making Since Maastricht," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 38(3), pages 519-538, September.
    3. Enrico Spolaore & Alberto Alesina & Romain Wacziarg, 2000. "Economic Integration and Political Disintegration," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 90(5), pages 1276-1296, December.
    4. Robert Dur & Hein Roelfsema, 2005. "Why does centralisation fail to internalise policy externalities?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 395-416, March.
    5. Alesina, Alberto & Dollar, David, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Journal of Economic Growth, Springer, vol. 5(1), pages 33-63, March.
    6. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro, 2002. "Currency Unions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 117(2), pages 409-436.
    7. Boeri, Tito, 2000. "Social Europe: Dramatic Visions and Real Complexity," CEPR Discussion Papers 2371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    8. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2004. "Endogenous Political Institutions," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 119(2), pages 565-611.
    9. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "Institutional Rules for Federations," NBER Working Papers 8646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    10. Issing,Otmar & Gaspar,Vitor & Angeloni,Ignazio & Tristani,Oreste, 2001. "Monetary Policy in the Euro Area," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521783248, October.
    11. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Banking Competition and European Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
    12. Tanzi,Vito & Schuknecht,Ludger, 2000. "Public Spending in the 20th Century," Cambridge Books, Cambridge University Press, number 9780521662918, October.
    13. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Unions," NBER Working Papers 8645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    14. Alesina, Alberto & Wacziarg, Romain, 1999. "Is Europe going too far?," Carnegie-Rochester Conference Series on Public Policy, Elsevier, vol. 51(1), pages 1-42, December.
    15. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro & Silvana Tenreyro, 2003. "Optimal Currency Areas," NBER Chapters, in: NBER Macroeconomics Annual 2002, Volume 17, pages 301-356, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    16. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    european union; political economy; subsidarity;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H41 - Public Economics - - Publicly Provided Goods - - - Public Goods

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