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Globalization and Institutions

Redefining the Rules of the Economic Game

Edited by Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack

This volume investigates the relationship between economic globalization and institutions, or global governance, challenging the common assumption that globalization and institutionalization are essentially processes which exclude each other. Instead, the contributors to this book show that globalization is better perceived as a dual process of institutional change at the national level, and institution building at the transnational level. Rich, supporting empirical evidence is provided along with a theoretical conceptualization of the main actors, mechanisms and conditions involved in trickle-up and trickle-down trajectories through which national institutional systems are being transformed and transnational rules emerge.
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Chapter 8: Europe’s Special Case: The Five Corners of Business–state Interactions

Dieter Plehwe and Stefano Vescovi


Dieter Plehwe with Stefano Vescovi INTRODUCTION For students of international relations and business–state interactions, Europe provides a unique puzzle. The European Union is not a supranational state. Nor can Europe be considered merely as another international regime based on sovereign nation-states. No other set of ‘combined international organizations’ (Rittberger 1995) enjoys institutionalized powers quite on a par with those of the European Court of Justice, the European Central Bank, the European Commission and the European Parliament combined. At the same time, decision-making and controlling powers are shared with national governments represented in the European Council and with national administrative units such as national judiciaries. This, furthermore, is only part of the picture. Representations of institutionalized power relations tend to be incomplete, giving much less consideration than they should to the role of private interests and in particular private business interests. Aspinwall (1998) observes ‘supranational interest group pluralism’ juxtaposed to ‘national statism’ in Europe. The striking conclusion is that collective action is far more complex than conventional theories allow. In the tug of war with national advocacy systems, EU-level groups are using increasingly sophisticated means to attract allegiance, including group specialisation, diversification of political objectives, and temporary alliances. In addition, both the groups themselves and the EU institutions are socialising private interests to the efficacy of Euro representation. (Aspinwall 1998, p. 198) Carrying the argument even further and adding a ‘neo-corporatist’ touch, Kohler-Koch (1999) identifies supranational network governance as an institutional feature peculiar to the European Union. What indeed is...

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