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

Listed author(s):
  • 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
Handle: RePEc:ecb:ecbwps:20030220
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  1. Grossman, G.M. & Helpman, E., 1993. "The Politics of Free Trade Agreements," Papers 14-93, Tel Aviv.
  2. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Ludger Schuknecht, 2001. "What Does the European Union Do?," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1935, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  3. 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.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "The Political Economy of International Unions," Harvard Institute of Economic Research Working Papers 1939, Harvard - Institute of Economic Research.
  5. Gary S. Becker, 1983. "A Theory of Competition Among Pressure Groups for Political Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 98(3), pages 371-400.
  6. Kishore Gawande & Pravin Krishna & Michael J. Robbins, 2004. "Foreign Lobbies and US Trade Policy," NBER Working Papers 10205, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  7. Dixit, Avinash & Grossman, Gene M. & Helpman, Elhanan, 1997. "Common Agency and Coordination: General Theory and Application to Government Policy Making," Scholarly Articles 3450061, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  8. Torsten Persson & Guido Tabellini, 1997. "Political Economics and Macroeconomic Policy," NBER Working Papers 6329, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  9. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  10. Cremer, Jacques & Palfrey, Thomas R., 1996. "In or out?: Centralization by majority vote," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 40(1), pages 43-60, January.
  11. B. Douglas Bernheim & Michael D. Whinston, 1986. "Menu Auctions, Resource Allocation, and Economic Influence," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 101(1), pages 1-31.
  12. Persson, Torsten, 1998. "Economic Policy and Special Interest Politics," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 108(447), pages 310-327, March.
  13. 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.
  14. Daniel Brou & Michele Ruta, 2003. "Lobbying, Bargaining and EU Enlargement," Rivista di Politica Economica, SIPI Spa, vol. 93(1), pages 195-216, January-F.
  15. 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, December.
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