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The allocation of competencies in an international union: a positive analysis

  • Ruta, Michele

This paper presents a positive theory of centralization of political decisions in an international union. My central claim is that lobbies play a role in determining the assignment of competencies to the union because their power of influence can increase or decrease under centralization. I show that in this setting a misallocation of prerogatives between the international union and national governments can be an outcome, both leading to excessive decentralization and/or non necessary centralization. This result reconciles a partial inconsistency that recent studies pointed out between the allocation of prerogatives in the EU and normative criteria, as laid out in the theoretical literature. JEL Classification: F02, D72, H77, P16

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Paper provided by European Central Bank in its series Working Paper Series with number 0220.

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Date of creation: Apr 2003
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030220
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  1. Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Michael J. Robbins, 2004. "Foreign Lobbies and US Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 10205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Ludger Schuknecht, 2005. "What does the European Union do?," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 123(3), pages 275-319, June.
  3. Timothy Besley & Stephen Coate, 1999. "Centralized versus Decentralized Provision of Local Public Goods: A Political Economy Analysis," NBER Working Papers 7084, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Unions," NBER Working Papers 8645, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Helpman Elhanan & Persson Torsten, 2001. "Lobbying and Legislative Bargaining," The B.E. Journal of Economic Analysis & Policy, De Gruyter, vol. 1(1), pages 1-33, November.
  6. Persson, T. & Tabellini, G., 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," Papers 630, Stockholm - International Economic Studies.
  7. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 105(4), pages 752-69, August.
  8. Cremer, J. & Palfrey, T.R., 1994. "In or Out?: Centralization by Majority Vote," Papers 94.335, Toulouse - GREMAQ.
  9. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1993. "The Politics of Free Trade Agreements," Papers 166, Princeton, Woodrow Wilson School - Public and International Affairs.
  10. Persson, Torsten, 1998. "Economic Policy and Special Interest Politics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 310-27, March.
  11. Kyle Bagwell & Robert W. Staiger, 2004. "The Economics of the World Trading System," MIT Press Books, The MIT Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 0262524341, June.
  12. Daniel Brou & Michele Ruta, 2003. "Lobbying, Bargaining and EU Enlargement," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 93(1), pages 195-216, January-F.
  13. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  14. Becker, Gary S, 1983. "A Theory of Competition among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400, August.
  15. Bernheim, B Douglas & Whinston, Michael D, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31, February.
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