Evolving Patterns of European Fiscal and Economic Policy Coordination: A Historical Institutionalist Analysis
Using historical institutionalism (HI) as a lens, this paper addresses the evolving pattern of the EU’s approaches in economic and fiscal governance, from the preventive arm of the Stability and Growth Pact (SGP) to the European Semester. The measures to counter the Eurozone sovereign debt crisis are explained by path dependence, critical junctures and HI’s three-phase analytical model (T0-T1-T2). Our paper finds that the European Semester represents an incremental change (i.e. path dependence) rather than a substantial reform (a critical juncture of a new path), of EU fiscal and economic policy coordination. We also find that micro-level adaptations (‘sunk costs’) were decisive in the adoption of the European Semester.