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Mister Chips goes to Brussels: on the pros and cons of a semiconductor policy in the EU

Hancké, Bob ORCID: 0000-0002-3334-231X and Garcia-Calvo, Angela (2022) Mister Chips goes to Brussels: on the pros and cons of a semiconductor policy in the EU. Global Policy, 13 (4). 585 - 593. ISSN 1758-5880

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Identification Number: 10.1111/1758-5899.13096


Is making semiconductors in Europe a good idea? With the introduction of the European Chips Act in early 2022, this is no longer an academic question. In this article we evaluate these plans in light of a wider—but remarkably one-sided—debate on industrial policy in advanced capitalist economies. Instead of focusing on policymakers, as most students of industrial policy have done, we draw attention to two first-order conditions that determine the chances of policy success: the existence of (proto-)competitive incumbents, and the alignment of the policy objectives with the prevailing institutional framework. We rely on that framework to evaluate the successes and failures in European aerospace, German biotech, and French computers, before using these insights to evaluate the European Chips Act. Investing in manufacturing of mature chips is, in that light, not a good idea. We suggest, instead, that the EU should concentrate on market segments that leverage its high-skill workplaces and world-class research system, and in which Europe has either already developed a comparative advantage or will not find itself at an initial disadvantage.

Item Type: Article
Official URL:
Additional Information: © 2022 The Authors
Divisions: European Institute
Subjects: H Social Sciences > HF Commerce
J Political Science > JN Political institutions (Europe)
T Technology > TK Electrical engineering. Electronics Nuclear engineering
Date Deposited: 03 May 2022 13:54
Last Modified: 14 Jun 2024 17:30

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