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Title: The Treasury, economic policy and European integration 1978-2003 : the role of officials in the policy-making process
Author: Smith, Matthew C. F.
ISNI:       0000 0004 2724 3053
Awarding Body: Manchester Metropolitan University
Current Institution: Manchester Metropolitan University
Date of Award: 2012
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The role of officials is identified generally as an important part of the policy-making process. But the influence of officials is referred to only in passing in many existing explanations of how successive British governments developed their policies on European economic integration since it became on the agenda in the late 1970s. Rather, greater prominence is given to activity self-contained at the political level, with the conclusion often being reached that the primary influences over ministers' policy choices were essentially political and largely in the public domain. This thesis tries to provide a deeper understanding of why British governments have chosen stances that, on the issue of economic integration, meant that Britain often appeared to be the 'awkward partner'. It does so by looking below the political level to see what role was played by Treasury officials in the policy-making process on this issue. After providing a critical review of the prevailing perspectives of what drove policy, this thesis attempts to answer this question by observing the minister-official dynamic through four case studies relating to major milestones that took place as Europe made its way towards economic and monetary union. In addition to published sources, this study mobilises substantial new evidence in the form of unpublished documents and in-depth interviews with participants - both ministers and civil servants. This research reveals a lively and open working relationship between ministers and officials, in which the latter provided advice on the economic considerations attached to the relevant issues. Rarely was a final decision made by ministers without having this advice to hand. Such advice was based on cost-benefit analysis aimed at helping ministers achieve their stated economic and political objectives. This thesis confirms the strong minister-official partnership at the heart of the policy-making process. In particular, it challenges the assertions made by many that Britain's awkwardness was shaped by domestic political circumstances, showing instead that - on these central economic issues - policy was for the most part driven by the more careful, pragmatic analysis in which Treasury officials were engaged.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available