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Title: Rhineland revisited : subsidiarity and the historical origins of coordination : comparing Germany with the Netherlands and France (800-1914)
Author: Nickel, Carsten
ISNI:       0000 0004 6498 4600
Awarding Body: University of Oxford
Current Institution: University of Oxford
Date of Award: 2016
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What explains the historical emergence of coordinated economic institutions for human capital formation and welfare provision? Surveying roughly one millennium of political and economic development in Germany, the Netherlands and France up until 1914, this thesis argues that da-ting back to the Middle Ages, the earliest forerunners of modern economic coordination could develop only in institutional complementarity with a specific form of political decentralisation, connected via their jointly enabling effect on collective action. This mutually re-enforcing com-plementarity gave rise to societies organised around the principle of subsidiarity, in which an often structurally unclear distribution of decision-making powers prompts political and eco-nomic actors to coordinate across different hierarchical levels. The comparison of eventually federal Germany with the ultimately unitary Netherlands - both of which developed significant patterns of economic coordination - demonstrates that political decentralisation under subsidi-arity does not simply equal the modern (American) reference model of clear-cut, rights-based federalism. Meanwhile the experience of strongly centralised France highlights that without this decentralisation, institutions of economic coordination hardly develop. Collective action is diffi-cult to harness if subsidiarity is absent because on the central state level, and unlike in economically more homogenous local contexts, economic interests often remain too diverse to coordi-nate. The historical result has been the emergence of decentralised-coordinated political econo-mies under subsidiarity in Germany and the Netherlands, and of a centralised, non-coordinated system in France. A better understanding of these institutional complementarities can help us historically inform recent scholarly debates on the emergence of modern political-economic organisation in the 19th century and on current governance problems in the Eurozone. The thesis seeks to contribute to the historical study of comparative political economy by highlighting how particular complementary institutions of political and economic governance have co-developed over time. It is argued that this understudied aspect of institutional development is crucial for understanding processes of continuity and change in advanced capitalism.
Supervisor: Soskice, David ; Saunders, Adam Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available
Keywords: Economic history ; Human capital ; Germany--Economic conditions--History ; France--Economic conditions--History ; Netherlands--Economic conditions--History