The Political Economy of the European Social Model: 1st Edition (Paperback) book cover

The Political Economy of the European Social Model

1st Edition

By Philip B. Whyman, Mark J. Baimbridge, Andrew Mullen


416 pages | 1 B/W Illus.

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This book seeks to analyse the development of the European Union (EU), which was founded upon the principle of the free movement of capital, goods, services and people in 1957. Its central thesis is that, from a practical and theoretical point of view, such a basis is fundamentally at odds with the creation of an interventionist regime that the construction of a social Europe would require.

The authors argue convincingly that - economically: the EU does not currently possess the budget or the economic tools to pursue such a strategy; politically: close to none of the institutions of the EU have backed such a policy; practically: conservative and neo-liberal forces (among member states and the institutions of the EU) have repeatedly thwarted any moves in this direction. In reality, the Single Internal Market, Economic and Monetary Union, enlargement, the Lisbon Agenda and European Constitution projects all prioritise supply-side measures and expanding the scope of the market rather than the boosting of demand and other economic intervention. Consequently, constructing a social Europe in the face of this would appear problematic. Hence, in both theory and practice, the idea that there can be a social Europe vis-à-vis neoliberalisation is a contradiction in terms.

This controversial book will be an educating and refreshing read for advanced students and academics involved with European politics, the European Union, European Economics and Economic instititutions.


'Offers a long overdue critical account of the economic and social integration process of the EU – a major reference for academics and students alike' - Christian Schweiger, Durham University, UK

Table of Contents

1. The European Social Model Part I: From Liberal to neo-liberal Europe 2. Liberal Europe during the Cold War Order (1947-1982): From the European Recovery Program to the Socialist Challenge 3. The Political Economy of Western Europe’s Social Models in the Cold War Order: Inevitable and Convergent Welfare States? 4. Neo-liberal Europe in the New World Order (1985-2007): From the Single Market to the European Constitution 5. The Political Economy of Western Europe’s Social Models in the New World Order: Retrenching Welfare States and the Emergence of Social Europe? Part II: Alternative Social Models to neo-liberal Europe 6. Progressive Social Forces and the Transformation of the World Order: Radical National Alternatives 7. Progressive Social Forces and the Transformation of the World Order: Euro-Keynesian and Radical European Alternatives Part III: The neoliberalisation of EU policy 8. Operation of economic policy 9. Fiscal Federalism: A Missed Opportunity or an Emerging Consensus? 10. European Social Policy: Constructing a European Social Model and Defending the European Model of Society? 11. Social Partnership and Labour Market Flexibility Part IV: What future for a social Europe? 12. Neoliberalisation and enlargement: incompatible goals? 13. Social Europe and Enlargement: Threat or Opportunity? 14. National economic policy alternatives 15. From Rescue and Stimulus to the Age of Austerity: the European Response to the Great Recession and the Prospects for Social Europe

About the Authors

Mark Baimbridge is Senior Lecturer in Economics at the University of Bradford, UK.

Philip B. Whyman is Professor of Economics at the University of Central Lancashire, UK.

Andrew Mullen is Senior Lecturer in Politics at Northumbria University, UK.

About the Series

Routledge Studies in the European Economy

Routledge Studies in the European Economy is our home for cutting-edge, upper-level scholarly studies and edited collections. Featuring compact and well researched volumes of 150 to 300 pages, the series provides a range of content considering the European economy alongside history, politics, cultural studies, agriculture, education, globalisation, and other subjects, titles are characterized by dynamic interventions into established subjects and innovative studies on emerging topics.

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Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economic Conditions
BUSINESS & ECONOMICS / Economics / General
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Economic Conditions
POLITICAL SCIENCE / Public Policy / Social Security