Coordinated Versus Liberal Market Economies

Orfeo Fioretos

in The Oxford Handbook of the European Union

Published in print August 2012 | ISBN: 9780199546282
Published online January 2013 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Politics & International Relations

Coordinated Versus Liberal Market Economies


In creating and sustaining an internal market, EU governments have confronted an enduring governance dilemma, namely how to minimize barriers to international economic exchange without undermining national designs that are highly valued domestically. The governance dilemma has presented governments with trade-offs between securing a share of the growing collective benefits of an integrated market and a reduction in national discretion with respect to how markets are regulated nationally and how losers from integration are compensated. This article, which explains how the manner in which governments jointly managed these trade-offs evolved over time as domestic economic priorities changed, more states became members of the EU, and new global economic challenges emerged, is organized as follows. The first three sections cover distinct phases in the evolution of the EU and document how capitalist diversity, or what is at times termed the EU's internal clash of capitalisms, shaped the content of major intergovernmental bargains and the specific mechanisms that governments have introduced to resolve the governance dilemma. A conclusion speaks to the lessons that a focus on capitalist diversity holds for the future study of the EU.

Keywords: EU; internal market; economic policy; international economic exchange; capitalism; capitalist diversity

Article.  6533 words. 

Subjects: Politics ; European Union

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