Date: 5 December 2018
Jason Beckfield, Professor of Sociology at Harvard University.
The Euro-crisis of 2009–2012 and the UK’s 2016 vote to leave the EU vividly demonstrated that EU policies matter for the distribution of resources within and between European nation-states. Throughout these events, distributive conflicts between the European Union’s winners and losers intensified, and continue today.
Unequal Europe, forthcoming from Oxford University Press, places these events into a broader historical, sociological, and economic perspective by analyzing how European integration has reshaped the distribution of income across the households of Europe. The motivating question is: who wins and who loses from European integration? Using individual- and household-level income survey data, combined with macro-level data on social policies, and case studies of welfare reforms in EU and non-EU states, the book shows how European integration has restratified Europe by simultaneously drawing national economies closer together and increasing inequality among households.
With the benefit of hindsight, we can now see that the Single European Act of 1985 had an array of intended and unintended consequences for inequality in Europe. With the Single European Act, EU policymakers revived the integration project by elevating the single market to the top priority of European law and by constitutionalizing the neoliberal notion that markets solve social and political problems.
In this presentation, Jason Beckfield discusses the overarching argument of the book, with selected empirical analyses to demonstrate some of the most controversial arguments.
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