The Launching of the EMS: An Analysis of Change in Foreign Economic Policy, Article first published online: 22 DEC 2006.Political StudiesPolitical Studies, Volume 36, Issue 3, pp.397-412. September 1988.

Foreign exchange markets are subject to changing international regimes. When and why regimes change is a legitimate focus of political study. This is particularly so as shifts in foreign exchange markets modify relative prices in and between national economies. Authorities presiding over foreign exchange markets are answerable to their national policy communities and to their national electorates. They also operate within an international state system. Applying John S. Odell’s framework to an analysis of the launch of the European Monetary System (EMS) in April 1978 by Chancellor Schmidt and President Giscard d’Estaing, it is argued that a market perspective alone would have failed to predict the establishment of the EMS. An analysis of the principal actors and their ideas; of the power political constellation; and of the domestic context in the Federal Republic and in France, contributes most to explaining ex post the shift towards a European managed exchange rate regime. In this case, the neoclassical M arket perspective provided erroneous, inadequate and subsidiary explanations. The article suggests that foreign exchange policy and therefore global financial markets belong firmly in the realm of international and comparative political studies. They are too important to be left to economists alone.

About Jonathan Story, Professor Emeritus, INSEAD

Jonathan Story is Emeritus Professor of International Political Economy at INSEAD. Prior to joining INSEAD in 1974, he worked in Brussels and Washington, where he obtained his PhD from Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies. He has held the Marusi Chair of Global Business at Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, and is currently Distinguished Visiting Professor at the Graduate Schoold of Business, Fordham University, New York. He is preparing a monograph on China’s impact on the world political economy, and another on a proposal for a contextual approach to business studies. He has a chapter forthcoming on the Euro crisis. His latest book is China UnCovered: What you need to know to do business in China, (FT/ Pearson’s, 2010) ( His previous books include “China: The Race to Market” (FT/Pearsons, 2003), The Frontiers of Fortune, (Pitman’s, 1999); and The Political Economy of Financial Integration in Europe : The Battle of the Systems,(MIT Press, 1998) on monetary union and financial markets in the EU, and co-authored with Ingo Walter of NYU. His books have been translated into French, Italian, German, Spanish, Chinese, Korean and Arabic. He is also a co-author in the Oxford Handbook on Business and Government(2010), and has contributed numerous chapters in books and articles in professional journals. He is a regular contributor to newspapers, and has been four times winner of the European Case Clearing House “Best Case of the Year” award. His latest cases detail hotel investments in Egypt and Argentina, as well as a women’s garment manufacturer in Sri Lanka and a Chinese auto parts producer. He teaches courses on international business and the global political economy. At the INSEAD campus, in Fontainebleau and Singapore, he has taught European and world politics, markets, and business in the MBA, and PhD programs. He has taught on INSEAD’s flagship Advanced Management Programme for the last three decades, as well as on other Executive Development and Company Specific courses. Jonathan Story works with governments, international organisations and multinational corporations. He is married with four children, and, now, thirteen grandchildren. Besides English, he is fluent in French, German, Spanish, Italian, reads Portuguese and is learning Russian. He has a bass voice, and gives concerts, including Afro-American spirituals, Russian folk, classical opera and oratorio.
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