Institutions and Regulatory Reforms for the Age of Governance
Edited by Jacint Jordana and David Levi-Faur
Chapter 9: The Political Foundations of the European Regulatory State
Nicolas Jabko The recent renewal of scholarly interest in regulation as a particular mode of economic governance can be understood as the academic acknowledgement of a real-world phenomenon. In the last 20 years, the role of government in economic development has been the subject of intense debates in advanced industrialized economies. These debates were perhaps most vivid in Western Europe, where the post-World War II consensus on the existence of a strong public sector alongside the private sector was profoundly shaken. And in many respects, the new market-oriented reform agenda of the European Union clearly expressed the alteration of this consensus. During the 1980s and the 1990s, it is no exaggeration to say that the political economy of the European Union underwent a quiet revolution. The member states of the EU first agreed to complete an ‘internal market’ by the year 1992, then rushed toward this objective by way of extensive liberalization and regulatory reforms at the EU level. And the march toward economic and monetary union (EMU) involved a number of important reforms on top of this already crowded policy agenda – the creation of the euro, the European Central Bank, and new mechanisms of policy-making and regulation at the EU level. As a result of all these reforms, the European Union increasingly appeared as the archetype of a ‘regulatory state’. Yet beyond the most obvious and observable characteristics of the rise of the regulatory state at the EU level, the factors that caused the EU’s quiet revolution and in...
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