Economic Patriotism in the Era of Global Financial Markets: The Transformation of Economic Interventionism

Cornelia Woll

The integration of financial markets and the increasing judicialization of supranational governance regimes have made the protection of national economic interests increasingly difficult. To begin with, it is difficult to determine the precise positive and negative effects of a policy measure in interconnected markets. Moreover, direct governmental support for firms is oftentimes in contradiction with international agreement. Despite the ambitions of European competition policy or WTO dispute settlement procedures, economic intervention in favor of national economic actors continues. The hypothesis of this project is that it simply changes its form and requires a different kind of political discourse. Subsidies and tariffs become increasingly difficult to defend. Instead, governments favor innovation and technology support and shift from defensive trade barriers to regulatory policy.

These hypotheses are studied in a country comparison between France, Germany, the United Kingdom and the United States and sector focus on industrial policy and financial market regulation. First, the project seeks to understand the transformation of state aid policy and examines the new categories that have emerged in order to continue granting direct support to ailing industries. Second, financial markets are studies to establish the variety of control mechanisms that different countries attempt to maintain over foreign investment. By concentrating on the notion of economic patriotism, the project thus asks: What instruments remain for government to intervene in the economy in favor of their economic constituents and how does their use vary across countries?


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