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[coverattach=1]Anchoring Reform by Subordinating to Hegemony? The Political Economy of EMU Enlargement. The governments of most accession Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have shown keen interest in adopting the

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[coverattach=1]Anchoring Reform by Subordinating to Hegemony?
The Political Economy of EMU Enlargement.
The governments of most accession Central and Eastern European (CEE) countries have shown keen interest in adopting the Euro soon after EU accession. This interest is motivated above all by the desire for a strong political signal, namely of an irrevocable ***8220;return to Europe***8221;. It is motivated as well by a search for a reform anchor that imposes a binding constraint on fiscal policy and wage bargains at home. This keen interest has been maintained despite the fact that the rules of the EMU club were written without considering the CEE countries***8217; future membership. This paper conceptualises hegemony as a specific transfer of political property rights. This captures both the use of delegation as a commitment device and the problématique of disenfranchisement that such delegation entails. The dilemma of CEE countries in joining a hegemonic club is explored with reference to Poland, the largest candidate country, which has experienced severe macroeconomic instability in the past.
1. Introduction
To mainstream political economy, hegemony is not necessarily a bad thing. While the term itself is not common, in a utilitarian world view or political Economy with a capital E, subordination may be the price to pay for enhancing a country***8217;s welfare. The case in point is a government that joins EMU and thus delegates monetary policy to an independent central bank. The European Central Bank (ECB) has a mandate to be more conservative, ie. more focused on price stability than the delegating member state governments, to achieve a credible commitment to low inflation (Alesina and Grilli 1994). This commitment is seen as empowering the median voter, keeping rent-seeking special interests at bay, and thus presumably enhances growth and innovation in the long run (Olson 1982).
By contrast, political economists who actually use the term hegemony to characterise an ***8216;asymmetric power relationship***8217; argue that hegemony is more problematic (e.g. Strange 1987). Political economy with a capital P as we may call it points to political costs of hegemony that the utilitarian world view ignores by assumption ***8211; namely the assumption that the commitment serves the median voter. By contrast, this school of political economy maintains that to give up sovereignty and subscribe to a mainstream paradigm of policymaking disenfranchises the electorate or precludes influence of legitimate organised interests in society. To take again the example of EMU, the interests of small business or trade unions in a more accommodating monetary policy may thus be systematically disadvantaged compared to the interests of wealthy asset holders or international finance (Martin and Ross 1999).
This may lead to a backlash, for instance the rise of populist parties that use resentment against certain features of EMU to forward a much wider anti-integrationist agenda.

Waltraud Schelkle*
*I ** grateful to Deborah Mabbett (Brunel University) for helpful clarifications.
European Institute and London School of Economics & Political Science
Houghton Street, London WC2A 2AE
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