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Vehicle of Influence

Building a European Car Market

Roland Stephen

Publication Year: 2000

This study examines a crucial period in European integration, ending in the early 1990s, when significant progress was made towards the dream of a unified European market. It shows how European automakers were part of these changes and how their influence within the institutions of the European Union (EU) yielded a wide range of policy compromises governing a single European car market. The book begins by reviewing the history of the EU and the logic of regional free trade, and goes on to develop a political explanation for the kinds of changes that actually occurred. The author argues that European automakers enjoyed a privileged place in the political arena, albeit one much transformed by the new institutions of the EU. Therefore, these firms often significantly influenced regional policy outcomes. The argument is applied to policymaking in the important areas of environmental regulation, trade, subsidies, and anti-trust regulation. This work lies at the intersection of business, economics, and political science and is of interest to both experts and non-specialists with an interest in the tremendous economic and political changes brought about by the creation of a united Europe and, more generally, by the worldwide process of regional economic integration. Academics, professionals, businessmen, and leaders in government all have something to learn from the way in which firms and governments combined to build the largest car market in the world. Roland Stephen is Assistant Professor in the Department of Political Science, North Carolina State University.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Contents

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pp. vii-

List of Figures

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pp. ix-

List of Tables

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pp. xi-

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Preface

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pp. xiii-xiv

The European Union (EU) poses the same kind of problem for social scientists as the bumblebee does for aerospace engineers. Scrutiny of the bumblebee suggests that anything with such a large body in comparison with its wings cannot possibly...

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1. Completing Europe’s Internal Market: The Single European Act in Perspective

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pp. 1-24

In 1991 the European auto industry seemed to be in deep trouble. A controversial trade agreement between the European Union (EU) and Japan restricting Japanese imports had just been completed, and Raymond Levy, chairman of the French automaker...

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2. Understanding the Role of Governments, Firms, and Institutions

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pp. 25-52

How did the member states of the European Union overcome a variety of political obstacles and execute the program of radical economic integration represented by the Single European Act and the White Paper proposals of 1985? A common interest in economic openness is often vitiated by the opposition of small but politically influential...

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3. The Political Economy of the European Automobile Industry

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pp. 53-83

In this chapter I describe the postwar performance of the European automobile industry, analyze its market structure and competitiveness, and map the public and private institutional environment on the eve of the Single European Act. The purpose is to supply...

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4. The Politics of Automobile Emissions Control

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pp. 85-109

The first set o common European standards in the issue area of automobile emissions, finally ena ted in December 1987 (Directive 88/76/EEC), was strongly contested. The outcome was seen by many to have favored the interests of the auto...

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5. The Politics of External Trade

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pp. 111-134

In July 1991 the European Union and Japan adopted a “voluntary trade agreement” on automobiles, which has been characterized as “one of the most unusual understandings in modern international economic diplomacy” (Mason 1994, 427). It represented a..

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6. Competition Policy in the European Union

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pp. 135-167

At the heart of the single market program was the idea that heightened competition, on a “level playing field ” would yield welfare gains to consumers and efficiency ains to European industry. However, even after tariff and nontariff barriers had been eliminated, other distortions of the marketplace persisted, and these...

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7. Economics, Politics, and Institutions

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pp. 169-181

By 1995 the pessimistic views of the future of the European auto industry that seemed to be so widespread only a few years earlier had proved to be largely unwarranted. At one of its main showplaces, the Frankfurt motor...

Appendix

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pp. 183-184

Notes

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pp. 185-195

Bibliography

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pp. 197-212

Index

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pp. 213-220


E-ISBN-13: 9780472023233
E-ISBN-10: 0472023233
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472111213
Print-ISBN-10: 0472111213

Page Count: 240
Illustrations: 15 drawings, 7 tables
Publication Year: 2000

Series Title: Michigan Studies in International Politi

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Subject Headings

  • Automobile industry and trade -- European Union countries.
  • Automobile industry and trade -- Government policy -- Europe.
  • Competition, International.
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