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European integration: the third step

  • Bowen, H.

    ()

  • Sleuwaegen, L.

    ()

    (Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School)

A perception of declining EU competitiveness has intensified calls for structural reforms within the EU. This paper examines recent evidence on changes in relative EU competitiveness and considers the observed changes in relation to the evolving competitive environment facing EU firms during the past two decades. Our analysis suggests that recent declines in EU competitiveness reflect an adjustment (or lack thereof) within the EU in response to an evolutionary “Third Step†in the process of EU integration: global market integration. We find that, starting from the mid-1990s, the EU began to face unprecedented increases in external sources of competition. The rising competition from external sources has created pressures for EU firms to alter their organizational and product market strategies to meet the challenge of a globally integrating market. While many leading EU firms are found to have responded to this challenge, EU firms remain hampered by anachronistic EU product and labor market regulations. The growing calls for structural reform therefore reflect the increased external competitive pressure on EU firms as they attempt to respond to growing global competition and to thereby strengthen their global competitiveness.

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Paper provided by Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School in its series Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series with number 2004-19a.

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Length: 43 pages
Date of creation: 23 Oct 2004
Date of revision:
Handle: RePEc:vlg:vlgwps:2004-19a
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  1. Lewis, William W., 2004. "The Power of Productivity," University of Chicago Press Economics Books, University of Chicago Press, edition 1, number 9780226476766.
  2. Wiersema,Margarethe & Bowen, Harry P., 2005. "Corporate international diversification: the impact of foreign competition, industry globalization and product diversification," Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School Working Paper Series 2005-6, Vlerick Leuven Gent Management School.
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