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  • Author: Francesca Bignami
  • Publication Date: 01-2010
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: European countries have experienced massive structural transformation over the past twenty-five years with the privatization of state-owned industries, the liberalization of markets, and the rise of the European Union. According to one prominent line of analysis, these changes have led to the Americanization of European regulatory styles: previously informal and cooperative modes of regulation are becoming adversarial and litigation-driven, similar to the American system. This article explores the Americanization hypothesis with a structured comparison of data privacy regulation in four countries (France, Britain, Germany, and Italy) and a review of three other policy areas. It finds that European regulatory systems are converging, but not on American-style litigation, rather on an administrative model of deterrence-oriented regulatory enforcement and industry self-regulation. The explanation for this emerging regulatory strategy is to be found in government responses to market liberalization, as well as the pressure created by the governance process of the European Union.
  • Topic: Economics, International Trade and Finance, Markets, Monetary Policy
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, Italy
  • Author: Sofía Perez, Jonathan Westrup
  • Publication Date: 01-2008
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This paper analyzes major changes in the regulation of the financial sector in Europe over the last three decades. Focusing on the pattern of change across five countries (Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Spain), the paper identifies two major periods of regulatory change: first, the shift away from postwar patterns of credit regulation in the 1970s and 1980s, and second, the intensification of state supervisory powers and the introduction of new regulatory structures from the 1990s to the present. In both cases, the authors point to the way in which different models of financial sector regulation affect the political consequences of macro-economic policy for political elites as an explanation for choices that governments have made in the regulatory arena. More specifically, while regulatory change in the first period may be largely explained by the way in which different postwar models of credit regulation impinged upon a government's political ability to impose disinflation, choices in favor of different regulatory structures in the second period (single regulator in Britain and Germany versus multiple regulators in the other countries) can be related to differences in the area of pension reform. By focusing on the political implications that different modes of financial regualtion can have for elected officials in the context of different macroeconomic scenarios, the authors offer an explanation of regualtory change that differs from accounts which emphasize the primacy of financial market forces in driving such change.
  • Topic: Economics, Government
  • Political Geography: Britain, Europe, France, Germany, Spain, Italy
  • Author: Mark Aspinwall
  • Publication Date: 12-2000
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: This essay compares the preferences of France, Italy, and Britain on the creation of the European Monetary System in 1978-1979, especially the Exchange Rate Mechanism, which stabilised nominal exchange rates. My claim is that the different conclusions reached by the governments (France and Italy in, Britain out) cannot be explained by economic circumstances or by interests, and I elaborate an intervening institutional variable which helps explain preferences. Deducing from spatial theory that where decisionmakers 'sit' on the left-right spectrum matters to their position on the EMS, I argue that domestic constitutional power-sharing mechanisms privilege certain actors over others in a predictable and consistent way. Where centrists were in power, the government's decision was to join. Where left or right extremists were privileged, the government's decision was negative. The article measures the centrism of the governments in place at the time, and also reviews the positions taken by the national political parties in and out of government. It is intended to contribute to the growing comparativist literature on the European Union, and to the burgeoning literature on EU-member-state relations.
  • Topic: Economics, Government, International Cooperation
  • Political Geography: Britain, Iraq, Europe, France
  • Author: Andrew Moravcsik
  • Publication Date: 05-1998
  • Content Type: Working Paper
  • Institution: Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies, Harvard University
  • Abstract: The thousands of books and articles on Charles de Gaulle's policy toward European integration, whether written by historians, political scientists, or commentators, universally accord primary explanatory importance to the General's distinctive geopolitical ideology. In explaining his motivations, only secondary significance, if any at all, is attached to commercial considerations. This paper seeks to reverse this historiographical consensus by the four major decisions toward European integration taken under de Gaulle's Presidency: the decisions to remain in the Common Market in 1958, to propose the Fouchet Plan in the early 1960s, to veto British accession to the EC, and to provoke the “empty chair” crisis in 1965-1966, resulting in “Luxembourg Compromise.” In each case, the overwhelming bulk of the primary evidence—speeches, memoirs, or government documents—suggests that de Gaulle's primary motivation was economic, not geopolitical or ideological. Like his predecessors and successors, de Gaulle sought to promote French industry and agriculture by establishing protected markets for their export products. This empirical finding has three broader implications: (1) For those interested in the European Union, it suggests that regional integration has been driven primarily by economic, not geopolitical considerations—even in the “least likely” case. (2) For those interested in the role of ideas in foreign policy, it suggests that strong interest groups in a democracy limit the impact of a leader's geopolitical ideology—even where the executive has very broad institutional autonomy. De Gaulle was a democratic statesman first and an ideological visionary second. (3) For those who employ qualitative case-study methods, it suggests that even a broad, representative sample of secondary sources does not create a firm basis for causal inference. For political scientists, as for historians, there is in many cases no reliable alternative to primary-source research.
  • Topic: Foreign Policy, Economics, International Organization, Political Economy, Politics
  • Political Geography: Europe, France