Beyond the Current EU Conception: Alternative approaches to Structural Reform

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For decades, the concept of “structural reform” has been dominant in the
economic policy discourse of the EU and most of its member states, from
Greece to Finland. The term gets its meaning mainly from neoclassical economic
theory, though there are also Schumpeterian and other elements. An
analysis of the theoretical underpinnings of the concept (which emerged in
the 1980s and was spread through the Bretton Woods institutions and the
OECD) reveals conceptual and theoretical ambiguities and factual weaknesses.
While many of these weaknesses are related to unrealistic assumptions,
I argue further that the realisticness of particular assumptions is different
from the realism of the approach and relevance of the problematic.
Second, to explore the limitations of the concept in its current meaning, I
outline a brief genealogy of the concept of structure in social sciences and
then juxtapose the economistic concept of structure with that of realist
social theory. Third, I explore the implications of this deeper ontological
conception of structure to the meaning and nature of possible structural
reforms. Fourth, I give a few examples of alternative structural reforms to
make my points more concrete. The envisioned programme of structural
changes would amount to reversing the current EU strategy for growth. In
the end, I summarise the overall argument.
UtgivareUniversity of Helsinki, Helsinki Centre for Global Political Economy
Antal sidor37
StatusPublicerad - 31 mars 2021
MoE-publikationstypD4 Publicerad utvecklings- eller forskningsrapport eller studie


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