Beyond mere rent payments? The EU's Common Agricultural Policy as a facilitator of local cooperation

Hosted by the European Institute



Dr Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni

Dr Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni


Dr Elizabeth Carter

Dr Elizabeth Carter

How can public policies facilitate local cooperation among economic actors in low-trust, institutionally weak settings?

This article addresses this question by examining the surprising emergence of demanding forms of cooperation within the Greek wine sector. The article develops an account of Facilitative Overarching Institutional Frameworks (FOIFs) as macro-level institutions that abate the obstacles to cooperation among local economic actors. While FOIFs cannot coercively impose cooperation from above, they can crucially contribute to its emergence. Despite the frequent portrayal of the Common Agricultural Policy (CAP) as merely an inefficient, rent-allocating policy, the EU’s wine policy is empirically shown to satisfy the characteristics of a FOIF. When combined with local leadership, as in the case of the wine sector on the island of Santorini, the facilitative features of the policy have transformative implications for local development. When local leadership is absent, as on the island of Lemnos, the developmental potential of the policy is not fully realised. While the rareness of embedded policymaking in Greece often results in the adoption of policies that are unfavourable to local cooperation, in the wine sector the CAP partially compensates for these domestic institutional deficiencies. The article contributes to our knowledge about the emergence of cooperation in adverse circumstances, with implications for fostering territorially cohesive growth. It also sheds a novel light on the impact of EU policies on local governance arrangements. 

Kira Gartzou-Katsouyanni is the Hellenic Bank Association Postdoctoral Fellow at the Hellenic Observatory of the LSE’s European Institute. Her research focuses on the politics of place. Her PhD thesis addressed the emergence of local cooperation in unfavourable circumstances and was entitled “Cooperation against the Odds: A Study on the Political Economy of Local Development in a Country with Small Firms and Small Farms”. Kira is currently co-editing Special Issue on “firm-centred, multi-level approaches to overcoming semi-peripheral constraints”, which is due to appear in Studies in Comparative International Development in 2024. She holds a PhD from the LSE’s European Institute, an MA in International Relations & International Economics from the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies (SAIS), and a BA in History & Politics from New College, Oxford. Previously, she was an ESRC Postdoctoral Fellow at the LSE’s European Institute (Jan.-Dec. 2022).

Elizabeth Carter is an Assistant Professor of Political Science at the University of New Hampshire. Elizabeth joined the UNH faculty in 2015, after two years as a researcher at the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne, Germany, and one year as a lecturer in comparative politics at the University of California Irvine. She earned her Ph.D. in political science at the University of California Berkeley and her M.P.A. from the University of Washington. Elizabeth's research combines politics with sociology, economics and history to explore the dynamics between politics, producer organization, the construction of taste, and market prices in high-value added sectors.