Ideational robustness of economic ideas in action: the case of European Union economic governance through a decade of crisis

Martin Bæk Carstensen, Vivien Schmidt

Publikation: Bidrag til tidsskriftTidsskriftartikelForskningpeer review


Is it possible to develop a robust crisis management response in a system where governance is characterized by coercive power and adversarial bargaining rather than the diversity, inclusion, and openness highlighted by extant scholarship as conducive factors for robustness? Using two instances of crisis in the European Union—the Eurozone crisis (2010‒2015) and COVID-19 pandemic (2020‒2022)—the paper argues that how actors reinterpret existing rules and institutions offers an important source of robustness in crisis management. Based on the employment of a disaggregation of robustness into degrees of robustness, as well as the concepts of ideational and institutional power, we show how actors can counter the coercive power of dominant coalitions and open up for rule adaptation through reinterpretations of existing rules that, at least in the short term, can solidify the functioning of existing institutions faced by turbulence. In the context of the Eurozone crisis, ideational and institutional power thus enabled a moderately robust response without treaty reform. In the case of the pandemic, it was possible to convince (particularly German) policymakers of the need to employ new ideas about common debt. This meant less need to employ ideational and institutional power by other actors, leading to significantly more effective crisis management than in the Eurozone crisis, what the paper terms maximal robustness.
TidsskriftPolicy and Society
Vol/bindAdvance article
Antal sider16
StatusUdgivet - 2024


  • Ideas
  • Robustness
  • Eurozone crisis
  • Covid 19
  • Crisis management

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