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Ordoliberalism, pragmatism and the eurozone crisis: How the German tradition shaped economic policy in Europe

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  • Feld, Lars P.
  • Köhler, Ekkehard A.
  • Nientiedt, Daniel

Abstract

German policy during the Eurozone crisis supposedly follows an ordoliberal tradition. In this paper, we discuss to what extent this contention holds and to what extent Germany pragmatically responded to different crisis phenomena. A proper analysis of ordoliberal thinking reveals that the European Monetary Union can be justified on ordoliberal grounds as an economic constitution for Europe in which several pillars supposedly aim at ensuring sound money in the Eurozone. The policies the German government pushed during the Eurozone crisis have been informed by the ordoliberal tradition. In particular, this tradition may explain why the German government has been hesitant to support the call for Eurobonds and has only reluctantly established the European Stability Mechanism (ESM). However, the decisions on the ESM and the acceptance of unconventional monetary policy in Europe show that German economic policy largely responded pragmatically to the challenges offered by the crisis.

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  • Feld, Lars P. & Köhler, Ekkehard A. & Nientiedt, Daniel, 2015. "Ordoliberalism, pragmatism and the eurozone crisis: How the German tradition shaped economic policy in Europe," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 15/04, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:aluord:1504
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    5. Berger, Helge & Nitsch, Volker, 2008. "Zooming out: The trade effect of the euro in historical perspective," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 27(8), pages 1244-1260, December.
    6. Feld, Lars P. & Köhler, Ekkehard A. (ed.), 2015. "Wettbewerbsordnung und Monopolbekämpfung," Untersuchungen zur Ordnungstheorie und Ordnungspolitik, Mohr Siebeck, Tübingen;Walter Eucken Institut, Freiburg, Germany, edition 1, volume 67, number urn:isbn:9783161539633, December.
    7. Alesina, Alberto & Summers, Lawrence H, 1993. "Central Bank Independence and Macroeconomic Performance: Some Comparative Evidence," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 25(2), pages 151-162, May.
    8. Rudolf Richter, 2012. "German “Ordnungstheorie”. From the Perspective of the New Institutional Economics," Schmollers Jahrbuch : Journal of Applied Social Science Studies / Zeitschrift für Wirtschafts- und Sozialwissenschaften, Duncker & Humblot, Berlin, vol. 132(4), pages 473-500.
    9. Werner Bonefeld, 2012. "Freedom and the Strong State: On German Ordoliberalism," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 17(5), pages 633-656, November.
    10. Stephanie Blankenburg & Lawrence King & Sue Konzelmann & Frank Wilkinson, 2013. "Prospects for the eurozone," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 37(3), pages 463-477.
    11. Lars Feld, 2005. "The European constitution project from the perspective of constitutional political economy," Public Choice, Springer, vol. 122(3), pages 417-448, March.
    12. Blyth, Mark, 2013. "Austerity: The History of a Dangerous Idea," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199828302.
    13. Werner Bonefeld, 2013. "On the Strong Liberal State: Beyond Berghahn and Young," New Political Economy, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 18(5), pages 779-783, October.
    14. Daniel Nientiedt & Ekkehard A. Köhler, 2016. "Liberalism and democracy — a comparative reading of Eucken and Hayek," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 40(6), pages 1743-1760.
    15. Jorg Bibow, 2009. "On the origin and rise of central bank independence in West Germany," The European Journal of the History of Economic Thought, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 16(1), pages 155-190.
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    Cited by:

    1. Jonathan White, 2017. "Between Rules and Discretion: Thoughts on Ordo-liberalism," LEQS – LSE 'Europe in Question' Discussion Paper Series 126, European Institute, LSE.
    2. Jörg Bibow, 2018. "How Germany’s anti-Keynesianism has brought Europe to its knees," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 32(5), pages 569-588, September.
    3. Troels Krarup, 2019. "‘Ordo’ versus ‘Ordnung’: Catholic or Lutheran roots of German ordoliberal economic theory?," International Review of Economics, Springer;Happiness Economics and Interpersonal Relations (HEIRS), vol. 66(3), pages 305-323, September.
    4. Dold, Malte & Krieger, Tim, 2019. "The ideological use and abuse of Freiburg's ordoliberalism," Discussion Paper Series 2019-04, University of Freiburg, Wilfried Guth Endowed Chair for Constitutional Political Economy and Competition Policy.
    5. Peter Spahn, 2016. "Central Bank Design in a Non-optimal Currency Union A Lender of Last Resort for Government Debt?," ROME Working Papers 201610, ROME Network.
    6. Hien, Josef, 2019. "The Religious Foundations of the European Crisis," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 185-204.
    7. Laica, Christoph & Lauber, Arne & Sahm, Marco, 2017. "Sequential round-robin tournaments with multiple prizes," BERG Working Paper Series 129, Bamberg University, Bamberg Economic Research Group.
    8. Stephan Puehringer, 2016. "Think Tank networks of German neoliberalism. Power structures in economics and economic policies in post-war Germany," ICAE Working Papers 53, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    9. Guter-Sandu, Andrei & Murau, Steffen, 2021. "The Eurozone’s evolving fiscal ecosystem: mitigating fiscal discipline by governing through off-balance-sheet fiscal agencies," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 109790, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    10. Feld, Lars P. & Köhler, Ekkehard A. & Nientiedt, Daniel, 2021. "Ordoliberalism and the social market economy," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 21/05, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    11. Feld Lars P. & Köhler Ekkehard A. & Nientiedt Daniel, 2018. "Die Europäische Währungsunion aus traditioneller und moderner ordnungsökonomischer Perspektive," ORDO. Jahrbuch für die Ordnung von Wirtschaft und Gesellschaft, De Gruyter, vol. 69(1), pages 65-84, July.
    12. Werner Bonefeld, 2018. "Stateless Money and State Power: Europe as ordoliberal Ordnungsgefüge," HISTORY OF ECONOMIC THOUGHT AND POLICY, FrancoAngeli Editore, vol. 2018(1), pages 5-26.
    13. Christian Grimm & Jakob Kapeller & Stephan Puehringer, 2018. "Paradigms and Policies: The state of economics in the german-speaking countries," ICAE Working Papers 77, Johannes Kepler University, Institute for Comprehensive Analysis of the Economy.
    14. Feld, Lars P. & Köhler, Ekkehard A. & Nientiedt, Daniel, 2017. "The "dark ages" of German macroeconomics and other alleged shortfalls in German economic thought," Freiburg Discussion Papers on Constitutional Economics 17/03, Walter Eucken Institut e.V..
    15. Hien, Josef, 2017. "The European Sovereign Debt Crisis and the Danger of Ideational Monocultures," EconStor Open Access Articles and Book Chapters, ZBW - Leibniz Information Centre for Economics, pages 115-124.
    16. Jürgen Wandel, 2019. "Prospects for an ordoliberal reform of the European Union," Economic Affairs, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 39(1), pages 28-43, February.
    17. Daniel Nientiedt, 2019. "Metaphysical justification for an economic constitution? Franz Böhm and the concept of natural law," Constitutional Political Economy, Springer, vol. 30(1), pages 114-129, March.
    18. Winkler Adalbert, 2018. "Zehn Jahre nach dem Konkurs von Lehman Brothers: Ordnungspolitische Irrtümer in der Bewertung der EZB-Geldpolitik seit der globalen Finanzkrise," Perspektiven der Wirtschaftspolitik, De Gruyter, vol. 19(2), pages 141-162, July.
    19. Forte Francesco, 2018. "Röpke and Einaudi: from the Civitas of Persons to the Idea of Europe," Journal for Markets and Ethics, Sciendo, vol. 6(1), pages 1-10, June.

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    More about this item

    Keywords

    ordoliberalism; Eurozone crisis; constitutional economics; monetary and fiscal policy;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • B13 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought through 1925 - - - Neoclassical through 1925 (Austrian, Marshallian, Walrasian, Wicksellian)
    • B26 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Financial Economics
    • B31 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought: Individuals - - - Individuals
    • D78 - Microeconomics - - Analysis of Collective Decision-Making - - - Positive Analysis of Policy Formulation and Implementation
    • E61 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Policy Objectives; Policy Designs and Consistency; Policy Coordination
    • E63 - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics - - Macroeconomic Policy, Macroeconomic Aspects of Public Finance, and General Outlook - - - Comparative or Joint Analysis of Fiscal and Monetary Policy; Stabilization; Treasury Policy

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