chapter  10
17 Pages

The political and economic logic of integration: the convergence policies of the EU

The notion of convergence and the empirical straggler effect, discussed in Chapter 2, means that less-developed economies with a certain level of modernization grow faster than developed economies. This effect is regularly found in cross-national samples and is, at least above a certain threshold of modernity, quite strong. In reflecting further on the economic consequences of the EU, I wish to focus in this chapter on the question: has EU membership accelerated economic convergence, i.e. have the lessdeveloped members been able to catch up due to growth rates even higher than non-members with a comparable level of development? Two different arguments for an accelerated convergence effect due to membership are presented in this chapter. To decide empirically upon the question, again the classic comparative method is applied using the same sample of thirty-three countries as in the previous chapter and in Chapter 2, the nonEU member states in the sample acting as a benchmark.