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Price: $52.50

Paperback 570 pp.
4 figures; tables, 156 mm x 234 mm



Publication date:
August 2001

Imprint: OUP UK

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Varieties of Capitalism

The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage

Edited by Peter A. Hall and David Soskice

What are the most fundamental differences among the political economies of the developed world? How do national institutional differences condition economic performance, public policy, and social well-being? Will they survive the pressures for convergence generated by globalization and technological change? These have long been central questions in comparative political economy. This book provides a new and coherent set of answers to them.

Building on the new economics of organization, the authors develop an important new theory about which differences among national political economies are most significant for economic policy and performance. Drawing on a distinction between 'liberal' and 'coordinated' market economies, they argue that there is more than one path to economic success. Nations need not converge to a single Anglo-American model. They develop a new theory of 'comparative institutional advantage' that transforms our understanding of international trade, offers new explanations for the response of firms and nations to the challenges of globalization, and provides a new theory of national interest to explain the conduct of nations in international relations.

The analysis brings the firm back into the centre of comparative political economy. It provides new perspectives on economic and social policy-making that illuminate the role of business in the development of the welfare state and the dilemmas facing those who make economic policy in the contemporary world. Emphasizing the 'institutional complementarities' that link labour relations, corporate finance, and national legal systems, the authors bring interdisciplinary perspectives to bear on issues of strategic management, economic performance, and institutional change.

This pathbreaking work sets new agendas in the study of comparative political economy. As such, it will be of value to academics and graduate students in economics, business, and political science, as well as to many others with interests in international relations, social policy-making, and the law.

Readership : Scholars and graduate students in the fields of political science, strategic management, international business, political economy, European politics/EU, comparative law, and comparative sociology; MBA students


  • `quoted as one of the six books to change the world'
    New Statesman
  • `an important and carefully argued book.'
    Sir Geoffrey Owen, FT
  • `This is an academic book in the sense that it draws on recent advances in economic and political theory - non-economists may find some chapters hard going - but it is also firmly based on an analysis of how companies really behave.'
    Sir Geoffrey Owen, FT
  • `With this book Peter Hall and David Soskice are opening a new chapter in the analysis of contemporary capitalism. They have succeeded in bringing together in one compelling formulation historical - institutional and rationalist - individualist analytical perspectives. The empirical applications in Varieties of Capitalism illuminate in a profound way how both scholars and policy makers will benefit when they link macro- and micro-level analyses across the many different sectors that define contemporary capitalism in its many forms. Economists and political scientists, finally, are able to meet on common ground. This book will become a classic in the field.'
    Peter J. Katzenstein, Walter S. Carpenter, Jr. Professor of International Studies, Cornell University.
  • `This invaluable contribution to the comparative capitalism literature vigorously argues against the notion of convergence so popular in the globalism debates. The authors expand our understanding of national "production systems" to see new connections and show that the differences aong them allow countries to pursue distinctly different strategies of international competition. A must read.'
    Peter Gourevitch, Professor, Graduate School of International Reltions and Pacific Studies, University of California, San Diego
  • `This book has been well worth waiting for. It demonstrates the wealth of insights that could be achieved through Soskice's innovative research program that began to change the agenda of Comparative POlitical Economy more than a decade ago. The volume combines a definitive restatement of the varieties of capitalism approach with illuminative applications to the range of research areas covered by it with some fascinating theoretical extensions. Excellent!'
    Professor F.W. Scharpf, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne

1. Peter A. Hall and David Soskice: An Introduction to Varieties of Capitalism
Part I: General Themes and Diverse Applications
2. Kathleen Thelen: Varieties of Labor Politics in the Developed Democracies
3. Robert J. Franzese, Jr.: Institutional and Sectoral Interactions in Monetary Policy and Wage-Price Bargaining
4. Margarita Estevez-Abe, Torben Iversen, and David Soskice: Social Protection and the Formation of Skills: A Reinterpretation of the Welfare State
5. Isabela Mares: Firms and the Welfare State: When, Why, and How Does Social Policy Matter to Employers?
6. Orfeo Fioretos: The Domestic Sources of Multilateral Preferences: Varieties of Capitalism in the European Community
Part II: Case-Studies in Public Policy, Continuity, and Change
7. Stewart Wood: Business, Government, and Labour Market Policy in Britain and Germany
8. Pepper D. Culpepper: Employers, Public Policy, and the Politics of Decentralized Cooperation in Germany and France
9. Bob Hancke: Revisiting the French Model: Coordination and Restructuring in French Industry
Part III: Corporate Governance, Firm Strategy, and the Law
10. Sigurt Vitols: Varieties of Corporate Governance: Comparing Germany and the UK
11. Mark Lehrer: Macro-Varieties of Capitalism and Micro-Varieties of Strategic Management in European Airlines
12. Steven Casper: The Legal Framework for Corporate Governance: The Influence of Contract Law on Company Strategies in Germany and the United States
13. Gunther Teubner: Legal Irritants: How Unifying Law Ends Up in New Divergences
14. Jay Tate: National Varieties of Standardization

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Peter A. Hall is Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University where he is also the Director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He is the author or editor of several books and many articles on European politics, policy-making, and comparative political economy. His work has received numerous awards including the Woodrow Wilson Award for the best book in political science published in 1986 and the Luebbert Award for the best article in comparative politics published in 1998. David Soskice is Research Professor of Political Science at Duke University and Adjunct Research Professor at the School for Social Sciences of the Australian National University. He is Emeritus Fellow in Economics at University College, Oxford, and on leave from the Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung in Berlin (WZB) where he has been Director of the Research Unit on Employment and Economic Change since 1990. He is the author or editor of several books and many articles on comparative political economy, macroeconomics, and labor economics.

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Special Features

  • Elaborates a new framework for understanding differences among national economies
  • Provides a new perspective on the problems of globalization
  • Brings the business enterprise back into the centre of comparative political economy
  • Sets new research agendas for the field of comparative politics in the coming decades