Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage

TitleVarieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage
Publication TypeBook
Year of Publication2001
AuthorsHall, P. A., and Soskice, D.
PublisherOxford University Press
CityNew York
Keywordscomparative political economy, economic policy, economics, globalization, social policy
Abstract

Applying the new economics of organization and relational theories of the firm to the problem of understanding cross-national variation in the political economy, this volume elaborates a new understanding of the institutional differences that characterize the 'varieties of capitalism' found among the developed economies. Building on a distinction between 'liberal market economies' and 'coordinated market economies', it explores the impact of these variations on economic performance and many spheres of policy-making, including macroeconomic policy, social policy, vocational training, legal decision-making, and international economic negotiations. The volume examines the institutional complementarities across spheres of the political economy, including labour markets, markets for corporate finance, the system of skill formation, and inter-firm collaboration on research and development that reinforce national equilibria and give rise to comparative institutional advantages, notably in the sphere of innovation where LMEs are better placed to sponsor radical innovation and CMEs to sponsor incremental innovation. By linking managerial strategy to national institutions, the volume builds a firm-centered comparative political economy that can be used to assess the response of firms and governments to the pressures associated with globalization. Its new perspectives on the welfare state emphasize the role of business interests and of economic systems built on general or specific skills in the development of social policy. It explores the relationship between national legal systems, as well as systems of standards setting, and the political economy. The analysis has many implications for economic policy-making, at national and international levels, in the global age. (publisher's statement)