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Good Governance in Crisis or a Good Crisis for Governance? A Comparison of the EU and the US

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  • Waltraud Schelkle

Abstract

The crisis since August 2007 provides an opportunity to observe the workings of good governance institutions under an extreme stress test and in radically different political settings. Institutions such as independent central banks, fiscal rules and regulatory oversight of public finances were meant to depoliticize macroeconomic stabilization. The comparison of responses to the crisis in the United States and in the European Union shows that good governance institutions are in crisis in the US while it has been a good crisis for governance so far in the EU. Levels of fiscal stimulus and monetary easing are surprisingly similar between the EU and the US, yet the ECB has maintained its independence and member states have been restrained from inserting protectionist elements in their stimulus measures. By contrast, the boundaries between economic stabilization and distributive politics have been wiped out in the US because neither the political forces in the states nor the economic forces in the financial sector erected many defences. In the EU, the boundaries as drawn are inimical to joint stabilization efforts but this is exactly why they are politically self-enforcing.

Suggested Citation

  • Waltraud Schelkle, 2010. "Good Governance in Crisis or a Good Crisis for Governance? A Comparison of the EU and the US," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 16, European Institute, LSE.
  • Handle: RePEc:eiq:eileqs:16
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    File URL: http://www.lse.ac.uk/europeanInstitute/LEQS/LEQSPaper16.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Waltraud Schelkle, 2006. "The Theory and Practice of Economic Governance in EMU Revisited: What Have we Learnt About Commitment and Credibility?," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 44, pages 669-685, November.
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    4. Deborah Mabbett & Waltraud Schelkle, 2007. "Bringing Macroeconomics Back into the Political Economy of Reform: the Lisbon Agenda and the 'Fiscal Philosophy' of EMU," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 45, pages 81-103, March.
    5. Follette, Glenn & Kusko, Andrea & Lutz, Byron, 2008. "State and Local Finances and the Macroeconomy: The High–Employment Budget and Fiscal Impetus," National Tax Journal, National Tax Association, vol. 61(3), pages 531-545, September.
    6. Charles Wyplosz, 2005. "Fiscal Policy: Institutions versus Rules," National Institute Economic Review, National Institute of Economic and Social Research, vol. 191(1), pages 64-78, January.
    7. Waltraud Schelkle, 2005. "The Political Economy of Fiscal Policy Co-ordination in EMU: From Disciplinarian Device to Insurance Arrangement," Journal of Common Market Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 43(2), pages 371-391, June.
    8. Barry Eichengreen & Jürgen Hagen, 1996. "Fiscal restrictions and monetary union: Rationales, repercussions, reforms," Empirica, Springer;Austrian Institute for Economic Research;Austrian Economic Association, vol. 23(1), pages 3-23, February.
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    10. Kydland, Finn E & Prescott, Edward C, 1977. "Rules Rather Than Discretion: The Inconsistency of Optimal Plans," Journal of Political Economy, University of Chicago Press, vol. 85(3), pages 473-491, June.
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    Keywords

    central bank independence; crisis; depoliticization; European Union; fiscal rules; United States;

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