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30 J. Common Mkt. Stud. 1 (1992)

handle is hein.journals/jcmks30 and id is 1 raw text is: 




Journal of Common Market Studies                                Volume XXX
0021-9886 $3.00                                             No.1, March 1992






                ESPRIT and the Politics of

           International Collective Action*





                             WAYNE  SANDHOLTZ
                             Scripps  College


                               Introduction

The  ESPRIT  programme   of the European Community  is a striking experiment
in international co-operation. Prior to ESPRIT, policies to promote the informa-
tion technology (IT) industries in Europe were the exclusive domain of national
governments.  Attempts to foster co-operation foundered on the determination
of each  state to create its own national champions in microelectronics and
computers. ESPRIT   represented a major shift in European technology policy-
making.  For those who study international politics, ESPRIT is also a notable
instance of international co-operation. Though cross-border joint ventures and
strategic partnerships among business enterprises have been common, extended
co-operation among governments  in high-technology industrial domains is rare.
That is because the technologies involved - semiconductors and computers -
have been  linked closely to national interests, for both their dynamic economic
role and for their military uses.
   The approach  in this article is to analyse ESPRIT as an instance of interna-
tional collective action. The theoretical notions employed come, not  from
theories of European integration, but from broader theories of international


*The author is assistant professor of political science at Scripps College, Claremont, California. For their
comments on earlier drafts, the author thanks Ernst Haas, Peter Haas, Stephen Krasner, Steven Weber and
John Zysman. The research was supported by the MacArthur Foundation and the Institute of International
Studies, University of California, Berkeley.

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