EU-building-200European Capitalism and the crises of the European Union

Programme leaders: Scott Lavery and Owen Parker

This programme encompasses investigation into three interrelated imbalances which characterise contemporary European capitalism: the Eurozone economic crisis, the deepening legitimation crisis of the EU institutions and the ongoing social crisis as experienced by European households and welfare systems. The programme tackles these issues from two core perspectives. First, in light of the UK’s vote to leave the EU, SPERI research focuses on the changing relationship between the UK and the EU and examines the evolving ‘political economy of Brexit’. Research in this area therefore focuses on a range of issues, including the implications of the Brexit vote on trade, investment, employment rights and macroeconomic policy in the UK more broadly. Second, the programme examines the enduring imbalances which continue to characterise the Eurozone and the EU, focusing on the emergent structure of Eurozone economic governance, the impact of the economic crisis on employment protections and welfare provision and the implications which these may have for the future of the European project. More generally, SPERI’s research on issues such as local economic development, welfare reform and environmental change is increasingly embracing a comparative dimension, studying convergence and divergence across European political economies. SPERI is also running a research project with the Foundation for European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Policy Network throughout 2016 and 2017 which investigates the evolving relationship between Britain’s growth model and European capitalism.

Recent and forthcoming publications:

Ongoing projects:

  • Scott Lavery’s research project focuses on the relationship between the EU, liberalisation and Britain’s ‘Anglo-liberal’ growth model. The project traces the way in which policymakers and powerful economic actors based within Britain have sought to shape labour market and financial regulation policy at the EU level. The project also explores the evolution of post-crisis economic governance in the Eurozone and the EU and the implications which this has for Britain’s finance-led growth model.
  • Scott is also leading a project funded by the White Rose Consortium on ‘Britain’s Changing Place in Europe: The Political Economy of Brexit’. This project – run in partnership with the Universities of York and Leeds – investigates the evolving relationship between Britain and the EU in terms of trade and finance, infrastructure and investment, and employment protections and social rights.
  • Owen Parker’s work continues to investigate the relationship between the EU as a market and political project. He is developing a project around the theme of Europe’s ‘progressive dilemma’, which will explore the debate between those on the political left in Europe advocating greater political integration and those promoting a return to the nation-state.
  • Owen also leads a White Rose network on EU citizenship and free movement and his recent work, funded by the Leverhulme Trust, has focused on these themes from a political economy perspective.
  • Colin Hay is principal investigator on a project entitled ‘Diverging Capitalisms? Britain, the City of London and Europe. The project is organised with the Foundation of European Progressive Studies (FEPS) and Policy Network.
  • Colin is also currently working on a project on how we conceptualise capitalist institutional diversity in a dynamic way under the working title ‘Varieties of Capitalism in Crisis’.
  • Owen Parker is leading a research project alongside Dimitris Tsarouhas (Bilkent University, Ankara) and other European academics on the impact of the Eurozone crisis on Greece, Portugal, Spain and Ireland. An edited collection bringing together the research outputs from the project will be published shortly in SPERI’s series with Palgrave.
  • Craig Berry is co-leading an ESRC-funded project entitled ‘England’s periphery in a changing Europe: Brexit and the North. This project looks at the relation between the North of England and the EU in terms of trade and the North’s receipt of structural funds.
  • Helen Thompson is working on the City of London and Britain’s EU predicaments as part of Colin Hay’s ‘Diverging Capitalisms