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The Quality of Governance in Europe: A Guide for the Perplexed




This paper investigates the quality of governance in the European geographical area for the period 1995–2019 employing the six World Governance Indicators (The World Bank, 2020): control of corruption, government effectiveness, political stability and absence of violence/terrorism, rule of law, regulatory quality, voice and accountability. With regard to EU membership, we partition countries into three blocks: Historical Members, Entrants, and Outsiders. We check systematic differences, static and dynamic, between the three blocks to verify whether EU membership makes a difference. Results highlight a complex scenario: while statically Historical Members outperform Entrants and Entrants outperform Outsiders on all six dimensions, dynamically we find club convergence in growth rates for all variables across the three blocks. Historical Members stand in a high equilibrium club, except for Greece. In a single case, we even observe absolute convergence for a low club of voice and accountability. Several Outsiders stand consistently either in the high or the low club, while Entrants vary widely in their performances. The remote determinants of governance’s quality are very difficult to identify because cultures, institutions and economies interact in complex and unexpected ways; moreover, natural experiments of EU memberships do not exist, so we cannot establish causal effects in the strictest sense. Nonetheless, for the first time, we establish a clear picture of all main dimensions of government’s quality for the European area, achieving at least a number of robust empirical facts which can be used by scholars, policymakers, and European administrators.

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  • Vincenzo Alfano & Salvatore Capasso & Valerio Filoso, 2020. "The Quality of Governance in Europe: A Guide for the Perplexed," CSEF Working Papers 592, Centre for Studies in Economics and Finance (CSEF), University of Naples, Italy.
  • Handle: RePEc:sef:csefwp:592

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    1. Caporale, Guglielmo Maria & Donati, Cristiana & Spagnolo, Nicola, 2023. "Small and medium sized European firms and energy saving measures: The role of financing," Energy Policy, Elsevier, vol. 179(C).
    2. Guglielmo Maria Caporale & Cristiana Donati & Nicola Spagnolo, 2022. "Small and Medium Sized European Firms and Energy Efficiency Measures: A Probit Analysis," CESifo Working Paper Series 10066, CESifo.

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    More about this item


    Quality of government; The European Union; Public institutions; Club convergence analysis.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • O52 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economywide Country Studies - - - Europe

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