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

This information is for the 2018/19 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Joan Costa-Font OLD 1.16


This course is available on the MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Columbia), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Hertie), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and NUS), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Sciences Po), MPA Dual Degree (LSE and Tokyo), 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 and 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 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 draws upon new political economy and social economics theories to study the design of formal and informal institutions in European Union member states and the European Union as a whole. Given that the European Union is progressively evolving towards some unique form of federalism, the course discusses how theories of political and fiscal federalism, constitutional political economy as well as new social economics can help to understand and inform the process. The course covers the design of both fiscal and political decentralisation process with a European perspective, and particularly it examines inter-jurisdictional competition between different levels of government and its role in giving rise to ‘institutional convergence’ with European Union member states.  It covers the constitutional design of the European Union and the effects of European integration on the design of the welfare state. Finally it examines the economics design of informal institutions included the economics of 'language', 'culture', 'ideas', and finally 'identity', to study the presence of ‘cultural; convergence in the European Union.


10 hours of lectures and 15 hours of seminars in the LT. 1 hour 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). Alesina, Alberto, Guido Tabellini, and Francesco Trebbi. "Is Europe an optimal political area?." Brookings Papers on Economic Activity (2017): 169-214.


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

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2017/18: 32

Average class size 2017/18: 11

Controlled access 2017/18: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Personal development skills

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