New Constellations in European Research and Higher Education Governance
Edited by Meng-Hsuan Chou and Åse Gornitzka
Chapter 9: Economic shocks, federalism and redistribution: exploring the future of Europe through a comparison of the evolution of student financial aid in the United States and the European Union
The integration mechanisms of the Europe of Knowledge are far reaching and revolutionary, and in this sense of strong research interest, because integration reached a policy area which is traditionally of strong national interest. This chapter explores the potential mechanisms through which the Europe of Knowledge extends the boundaries of European integration by concentrating on the evolution of a policy domain which is not commonly attributed to European competency, namely redistributive mechanisms in the higher education domain. European integration and redistribution do not match well, the zero sum game nature of redistributive mechanisms making the agreement necessary for further integration difficult. Under which conditions can federal governments increase their redistributive function? In order to understand the evolution of redistributive mechanisms, the chapter studies more particularly the effect of a negative economic shock on federal integration in redistributive areas, by comparing developments with another major political system recognized as a federal entity, namely the US. This chapter more generally seeks to understand why redistributive schemes are difficult to achieve at the federal level and under which conditions federal governments can increase their redistributive functions. The term federalism loosely covers the creation of a multi-ordered structure, with all orders of government having some independent as well as shared decision-making responsibilities, and is hence applicable to the US as well as the European Union (EU) (Broadway and Shar 2009).
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