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Neil Robinson and Owen Worth

The political economy of Europe has changed significantly in the last four decades because of globalization, the collapse of communism, and financial crises. This chapter first discusses the different varieties of capitalism that emerged in Europe after World War II. It looks at how they have been put under pressure by economic internationalization and the dominance of neoliberal ideas, which together have weakened economic management at nation-state level. The chapter also looks at the development of capitalism in Eastern Europe and explanations for variance in post-communist capitalist development. Finally, the chapter considers the challenges to the management of Europe’s political economy posed by the international financial crisis that dominated much of Europe’s politics after 2007, along with the initial response to the economic crisis caused by the coronavirus pandemic in 2020.


This chapter examines the impact of Europeanization upon the national economies of European Union member states. It considers how successful the EU has been in promoting its goal of building a single European economy out of the diverse national economies of its member states; how much convergence has occurred among EU member states, and how much divergence remains; and what impact the economic crisis beginning in 2008 has had on the EU and its member states. To answer these questions, the chapter traces the development of Europe’s national economies from the post-war period until today. It also analyses the impact of globalization and Europeanization on post-war varieties of capitalism before concluding with reflections on future patterns of political economic development in the EU in light of the economic crisis.