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

This information is for the 2017/18 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joan Costa-Font OLD 2.37


This course is available on the MPA in European Policy-Making, MPA in International Development, MPA in Public Policy and Management, MPA in Public and Economic Policy, MPA in Public and Social Policy, MPA in Social Impact, MSc in EU Politics, MSc in EU Politics (LSE & Sciences Po), MSc in Global Europe: Culture and Conflict, MSc in Global Europe: Culture and Conflict (LSE & 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), MSc in Urban Policy (LSE and Sciences Po) and Master of Public Administration. 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 and disintegration  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 economy of both fiscal and political decentralisation process with a European perspective, and particularly it examines inter-jurisdictional competition between different levels of government.  Finally it examines the social economy that underpins the formation of a  European policy, that is, economics approaches to 'language', 'culture', 'ideas', and 'values' and finally 'identity'. Topics include: Formal and Informal Institutional design. Club goods and Public Goods. Political and Fiscal Federalism, Race to the Bottom, Vertical and Horizontal Competition. Economics of language, Culture and the Welfare state.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 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

 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 2016/17: Unavailable

Average class size 2016/17: Unavailable

Controlled access 2016/17: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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