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The EU Internal Market in Comparative Perspective

Economic, Political and Legal Analyses


Edited By Jacques Pelkmans, Dominik Hanf and Michele Chang

The European Union’s internal market is the «hard core» of integration and by far its most precious asset. However a number of deep-seated factors have impeded the development of a systematic and wide-ranging academic research programme dedicated to the internal market. The purpose of this book is to begin to address this predicament with a tri-disciplinary analysis of the internal market, as scant opportunities for mutual understanding and learning across disciplines (law, economics and politics) currently exist. Internal market scholars from all three disciplines collaborated on this project, in which each chapter was read and critiqued by a scholar from a different discipline. The editors trust that this unique exercise reveals to many readers the enormous potential for in-depth and continuous analysis of the internal market and all that it entails. It also provides an accessible text for students and scholars from all three disciplines interested in the internal market.


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PART I THE CONCEPT AND MEANING OF THE INTERNAL MARKET CHAPTER 2 Economic Concept and Meaning of the Internal Market Jacques PELKMANS Director and Jan Tinbergen Chair for European Economic Studies, College of Europe, Bruges & Chair an Business & Europe, Vlerick School of Management, Leuven/Gent 1. Introduction' What is 'the' internal market, as economists see it? Can economics formulate a single rigorous benchmark, against which Treaty design and the actual practice of building the internal market and making it work well can be assessed? How useful is it to dispose of a benchmark de- rived from economic theory, if the politics, the institutional complica- tions of a two-level governance and legal aspects are merely considered as exogenous requirements or simply assumed to be appropriate? What are the benefits and costs of the various steps of the long and steep `market integration ladder', whether in ex-ante economic analysis or in ex-post empirical verification? Once all of this would be known, why would the EU want an internal market (=IM) in the first place? Are such merits of the IM still the same today as 50 years ago, and, if not, what is or should be the value-added of a `deeper' or 'wider' IM nowadays? Does economics have anything to teil about the political and/or legal prerequisites or complementarities which would render the IM more effective in serving EU goals? The present paper is inspired by these questions, without claiming that all of them can be satisfactorily addressed, let alone, solved. lt aims...

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