Political Economy of European Integration

Research Group | Profile

Work in the research group focuses on topics that are central to the MPIfG’s past and present research agenda: the political constitution of the operation and limits of markets, the shifting roles and relationship between state and market, and the institutional move away from the “embedded liberalism” of the immediate postwar years toward an economic order that relies more heavily on self-regulating markets. The transformation of the production and welfare regimes in Europe over time is impossible to separate from the progressive deepening of European integration, and it is this inner-European heterogeneity that the research group takes as the starting point for its analysis of European integration from a comparative political economy perspective.

The group is interested in the following questions and issues:

  • the effects of increasing political economic heterogeneity in the EU and the eurozone, in particular on the potential success of market-enhancing and market-restricting integration projects;
  • the determinants of the partial autonomy of the European Commission and European Court of Justice (ECJ) as supranational institutions;
  • political economic conflict structures within the EU and the eurozone;
  • the possibilities for and limitations of macroeconomic coordination under common monetary policy and fixed exchange rates;
  • national state and non-state actors’ capacity to indirectly influence European institutions and organizations;
  • changes in the European varieties of capitalism as a result of European integration and the consequences for production, distribution, and democracy;
  • changing logics in different phases of European integration, particularly with respect to exchange rate regimes since Bretton Woods;
  • integration theories and their foundation in political economy.

In the first phase, projects focused on problems of “integration through law,” particularly relating to the broad interpretations of the European fundamental freedoms and competition law by the supranational agencies European Commission and ECJ. The focus in the second phase, since 2013, has shifted to problems of coordination within the eurozone and of economic policy in the EU, including industrial and cohesion policy.

The research group operates theoretically at the intersection of several debates in political economy and sociology, among them the varieties of capitalism research, regulatory theory, theories relating to growth models and the political and social embeddedness of the economy, and political science theories of integration.

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