Top-Down or Bottom-Up? Contrasting Approaches to Building a European Union

30 Pages Posted: 7 Sep 2017

See all articles by Giuseppe Eusepi

Giuseppe Eusepi

Sapienza University of Rome

Richard E. Wagner

George Mason University - Department of Economics; George Mason University - Mercatus Center

Date Written: September 6, 2017

Abstract

The European Project aims to avoid repeating Europe’s bloody history of the first half of the 20th century by creating a united Europe under the banner of the European Union. This aspiration for peace and security recalls the similar effort that led to formation of the United States in the late 18th century. While the United States has clearly exemplified formation of a union among previously independent states, it is not at all clear that the European Union is moving along a similar path. In this paper, we explore similarities and differences between these two approaches to unification. The United States pursued a bottom-up approach, whereas the European Union is pursuing a top-down approach. There is both reason and evidence to support claims that bottom-up approaches offer stronger prospects for forming successful unions.

Keywords: Quality of institutions, market integration, political integration, constitutional drift, Europeanization of public debt

JEL Classification: D73, H63, H77, P16

Suggested Citation

Eusepi, Giuseppe and Wagner, Richard E., Top-Down or Bottom-Up? Contrasting Approaches to Building a European Union (September 6, 2017). GMU Working Paper in Economics No. 17-27, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3033090 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.3033090

Giuseppe Eusepi

Sapienza University of Rome ( email )

Via del Castro Laurenziano, 9
Rome, RM 00161
Italy
+39 06 49766955 (Phone)

Richard E. Wagner (Contact Author)

George Mason University - Department of Economics ( email )

4400 University Drive
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Fairfax, VA 22030
United States
(703) 993-1132 (Phone)

HOME PAGE: http://mason.gmu.edu/~rwagner/

George Mason University - Mercatus Center ( email )

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Arlington, VA 22201
United States

HOME PAGE: http://ppe.mercatus.org/scholars/richard-wagner

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