Rail and Transport Policy: National Paradigms and Supranational Structures

The Sociology of Economic Life, 2001

24 Pages Posted: 26 Mar 2014

See all articles by Frank Dobbin

Frank Dobbin

Harvard University - Department of Sociology

Multiple version iconThere are 2 versions of this paper

Date Written: 2001


The story of EU rail and transportation policy is about the inter-relation between economic and political integration. The European Union is often seen as a structure for enforcing discipline on governments in a free market. The idealized market is driven by transcendental economic laws of exchange that determine what is efficient and what is not, and that help to shape social institutions. The modern social institution that has done the most to promote modernization and progress - the state - plays no role in the constitution of market efficiency. On the contrary it can only act to disrupt primordial or natural markets. The great expectation that analysts hold for the EU is that it can negotiate modern states out of the economic picture. The argument in this book, in contrast, is that economic integration under a single European market will not be as simple as eliminating industrial interventions that interfere with natural markets, but will involve national paradigms concerning: (1) how and where markets produce efficiencies, and (2) the role of the state in the constitution of various markets. This will demand not a withering away of European states, but the imposition of a new supranational structure that will affect some particular, as yet unfinished vision of the market.

Suggested Citation

Dobbin, Frank, Rail and Transport Policy: National Paradigms and Supranational Structures (2001). The Sociology of Economic Life, 2001. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=2412181

Frank Dobbin (Contact Author)

Harvard University - Department of Sociology ( email )

33 Kirkland Street
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States

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