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The Eurozone and Political Economic Institutions

Research output: Contribution to journalBook/Film/Article review

David Hope, David Soskice, Torben Iversen

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)163-185
Number of pages23
Early online date21 Jan 2016
Publication statusPublished - 11 May 2016

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This review sets out a recently developed comparative political economy literature on the Eurozone, which has a basis in both varieties of capitalism and modern macroeconomics. It contrasts the export-oriented, northern European, skill-intensive, coordinated market economies with coordinated wage-bargaining, on the one hand, with the southern European, demand-driven economies with strong public sector unions, on the other. It analyzes the Eurozone as an ongoing grouping of sovereign democratic states, each with strong concerns to remain within the Eurozone but in principle with an exit option. It argues that the origins of the Eurozone and its trajectory primarily reflected national economic concerns and not a political drive toward European integration; and its deflationary preference has been the rational choice of the export-oriented members and their bargaining power in the Eurozone, not an irrational rejection of Keynesianism. The Eurozone functioned well (comparably to the advanced economies outside the Eurozone, though with major imbalances in both) during its “dual growth model” period from inception to the Eurocrisis. The absence of flexible core labor markets suggested by the optimum currency area literature has not impeded its effectiveness; and there has been little Eurozone-generated institution building, except very partially in banking. The only important development, Outright Monetary Transactions, has made the European Central Bank the de facto lender of last resort to fiscally stable member states.

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