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What Does the European Union Do?

  • Alberto Alesina
  • Ignazio Angeloni
  • Ludger Schuknecht

The goal of this paper is to evaluate the attribution of policy prerogatives to European Union level institutions and compare them to the implications of normative policy models and to the preferences of European citizens. For this purpose we construct a set of indicators to measure the policy-making intensity of the European Union (European Council, Parliament, Commission, Court of Justice, etc.). We confirm that the extent and the intensity of policy-making by the EU have increased sharply over the last 30 years, but at different speeds, and in different degrees, across policy domains. In recent years the areas that have expanded most are quite remote from the EEC’s original mission of establishing a free market zone with common external trade policy. On the contrary some policy domains that would normally be attributed to the highest level of government remain at national level. We argue that the resulting allocation of prerogatives between the EU and member countries is partly inconsistent with normative criteria concerning the assignment of policies at different government levels, as laid out in the theoretical literature.

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Paper provided by European University Institute (EUI), Robert Schuman Centre of Advanced Studies (RSCAS) in its series EUI-RSCAS Working Papers with number 61.

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Date of creation: 15 Dec 2002
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:erp:euirsc:p0007
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  1. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521664103 is not listed on IDEAS
  2. Alesina, Alberto & Spolaore, Enrico, 1997. "On the Number and Size of Nations," The Quarterly Journal of Economics, MIT Press, vol. 112(4), pages 1027-56, November.
  3. Wacziarg, Romain & Alesina, Alberto, 1999. "Is Europe Going Too Far?," Scholarly Articles 4553012, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  4. Alberto Alesina & Ignazio Angeloni & Federico Etro, 2001. "Institutional Rules for Federations," NBER Working Papers 8646, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. 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.
  6. 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.
  7. Alberto Alesina & Robert J. Barro, 2000. "Currency Unions," NBER Working Papers 7927, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. 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.
  9. Dollar, David & Alesina, Alberto, 2000. "Who Gives Foreign Aid to Whom and Why?," Scholarly Articles 4553020, Harvard University Department of Economics.
  10. Wallace E. Oates, 1999. "An Essay on Fiscal Federalism," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 37(3), pages 1120-1149, September.
  11. Philippe Aghion & Alberto Alesina & Francesco Trebbi, 2002. "Endogenous Political Institutions," NBER Working Papers 9006, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  12. Robert A.J. Dur & Hein J. Roelfsema, 2002. "Why does Centralisation fail to internalise Policy Externalities?," Tinbergen Institute Discussion Papers 02-056/3, Tinbergen Institute, revised 11 Nov 2003.
  13. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521662918 is not listed on IDEAS
  14. Boeri, Tito, 2000. "Social Europe: Dramatic Visions and Real Complexity," CEPR Discussion Papers 2371, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  15. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521788885 is not listed on IDEAS
  16. Vives, Xavier, 1990. "Banking Competition and European Integration," CEPR Discussion Papers 373, C.E.P.R. Discussion Papers.
  17. Michele Boldrin & Fabio Canova, 2001. "Inequality and convergence in Europe's regions: reconsidering European regional policies," Economic Policy, CEPR;CES;MSH, vol. 16(32), pages 205-253, 04.
  18. repec:cup:cbooks:9780521783248 is not listed on IDEAS
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