EU439      Half Unit
Political and Fiscal Integration and Disintegration in EU Member States

This information is for the 2015/16 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joan Costa-Font OLD 2.37


This course is available on the MPA in European Public and Economic Policy, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities, MSc in European Studies: Ideas, Ideologies and Identities (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Local Economic Development, MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Science and Political Economy, MSc in Social Policy (European and Comparative Social Policy) and MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po). This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

Course content

With the expansion of processes of economic integration in the European Union the traditional economic role of the state requires redefinition. Monolithic states progressively become more flexible structures to respond to constituents demands. This is especially the case of those policy areas that are highly relevant for European citizens such as language, culture and welfare. This course attempts to uses the theory of public choice, fiscal federalism and social economics to describe these phenomena and its detailed effects on the institutional structure of European Union member states and the European Union as a whole. Given the European Union institutional structure is moving towards some form of federalism, the course discusses how theories of political and fiscal federalism can help to understand these phenomena. Furthermore, the constitutional design of the European Union brings up a large set of theoretical questions on the institutional design to be addressed from the perspective of constitutional political economy. The course covers the political economy of both fiscal and political decentralisation process with a European perspective. Particularly, it examines political and fiscal incentives that reflect on inter-jurisdictional competition between different levels of government. Finally, it addresses the effects of economic, social and political heterogeneity in the organisation of European Union member states and well as in the European Union itself. Topics include: Introduction to State and Institutional Design. Political and Fiscal Integration. Formal and Informal Institutions. Constitutional Political Economy of Europe. Economics of Nationalism. Elite Decision Making. Fiscal Federalism and Europe. Leviathan Paradox and Government Size. Competition, Coordination and Cooperation in a Federation. Vertical and Horizontal Competition National Identity and Public Goods. Economic Incentives for State Formation. Incentives in State Design: Conflict and Cooperation. Experiences of Political and Fiscal Decentralisation in Europe. Language, Culture and Welfare Polices in the European Union member states.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the MT. 2 hours of lectures in the ST.

Students on this course will have a reading week in Week 6, in line with departmental policy.

Formative coursework

Two essays of up to 1,500 words each

Indicative reading

Ahmand, E and Brosio, G (2006) Handbook of Fiscal Federalism; Edwar Elgar, Albert Breton (1996) Competitive Governments. An Economic Theory of Politics and Public Finance, New York: Cambridge University Press).


Exam (100%, duration: 2 hours) in the main exam period.

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2014/15: 33

Average class size 2014/15: 11

Controlled access 2014/15: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication
  • Specialist skills