Journal Article

The asymmetry of European integration, or why the EU cannot be a ‘social market economy’

Fritz W. Scharpf

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 8, issue 2, pages 211-250
Published in print April 2010 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online December 2009 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwp031
The asymmetry of European integration, or why the EU cannot be a ‘social market economy’

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Judge-made law has played a crucial role in the process of European integration. In the vertical dimension, it has greatly reduced the range of autonomous policy choices in the member states, and it has helped to expand the reach of European competences. At the same time, however, ‘integration through law’ does have a liberalizing and deregulatory impact on the socio-economic regimes of European Union member states. This effect is generally compatible with the status quo in liberal market economies, but it tends to undermine the institutions and policy legacies of Continental and Scandinavian social market economies. Given the high consensus requirements of European legislation, this structural asymmetry cannot be corrected through political action at the European level.

Keywords: Europe; socio-economic regimes; law; democratic capitalism; K law and economics

Journal Article.  16372 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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