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Quantitative indicators of corporatism: A survey and assessment


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  • Kenworthy, Lane


Corporatism has been one of the most heavily studied concepts in comparative political economy over the past two decades, and quantitative indicators of corporatism have played a central role in the corporatist literature. This paper offers a survey and assessment of 42 such indicators. The principal aims are to provide an inventory of existing indicators, to examine their relative trustworthiness and utility, and to assess the robustness of empirical findings on the effects of corporatism on macroeconomic performance and income distribution and redistribution. Among the more noteworthy conclusions I reach are the following: (1) While quantitative corporatism measures have improved substantially in recent years, substantial gaps remain. (2) There is little justification for continued use of time-invariant measures. (3) Composite corporatism measures are commonplace, yet their creators and users have yet to offer a compelling explication of how corporatist effects are generated in such a way that they are more accurately captured by aggregated indicators than by narrowly-targeted ones. (4) There is fairly strong indication that one or more aspects/types of corporatism were associated with nominal wage restraint, low inflation, low unemployment, and low income inequality during the 1970s and 1980s. However, the results vary markedly depending upon the particular indicator used, and there is little evidence to support the common presumption that corporatism's unemployment-reducing effect occurs via real wage restraint. -- Wenige Modelle der vergleichenden politischen Ökonomie sind über die vergangenen 20 Jahre so eingehend untersucht worden wie das des Korporatismus. In der einschlägigen Literatur spielen dabei quantitative Indikatoren eine zentrale Rolle. Für das vorliegende Discussion Paper sind 42 Indikatoren erhoben und untersucht worden. Ziel war es, sie auf ihre Brauchbarkeit und Verläßlichkeit hin zu überprüfen sowie herauszufinden, wie standfest empirische Untersuchungen über die Auswirkungen des Korporatismus auf makro-ökonomische Leistungsfähigkeit, Einkommensverteilung und -umverteilung sind. Zu den besonders erwähnenswerten Schlußfolgerungen dieses Discussion Papers gehören: (1) Trotz immer noch bestehender Mängel haben sich quantitative Koporatismusmaße in den letzten Jahren als stichhaltig erwiesen. (2) Die Anwendung konstanter Variablen ist nicht mehr sinnvoll. (3) Summarische Korporatismusindikatoren werden zwar oft verwendet, doch ihre Erfinder und Anwender bleiben eine einleuchtende Erklärung schuldig, warum korporatistische Effekte besser durch aggregierte Gesamtmaße als durch sachlich genauere Einzelindikatoren erklärt werden sollten. (4) Alles weist darauf hin, daß einige Aspekte oder Formen des Korporatismus mit Lohnzurückhaltung, niedriger Inflation, höherer Beschäftigung und weitgehender Einkommensgleichheit in den 70er und 80er Jahren korrelieren. Die Ergebnisse variieren jedoch stark, je nachdem, welcher Indikator zugrunde gelegt wurde, und wenig stützt die allgemeine Vermutung, daß der Korporatismus vor allem durch Lohnzurückhaltung die Arbeitslosigkeit mindert.

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Paper provided by Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in its series MPIfG Discussion Paper with number 00/4.

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Date of creation: 2000
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:004

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  1. Beck, Nathaniel & Katz, Jonathan N. & Alvarez, Michael R. & Garrett, Geoffrey & Lange, Peter, 1993. "Government Partisanship, Labor Organization and Macroeconomic Performance: A Corrigendum," Working Papers 848, California Institute of Technology, Division of the Humanities and Social Sciences.
  2. Jean-Marc Burniaux & Thai-Thanh Dang & Douglas Fore & Michael F. Förster & Marco Mira d'Ercole & Howard Oxley, 1998. "Income Distribution and Poverty in Selected OECD Countries," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 189, OECD Publishing.
  3. McCallum, John, 1983. "Inflation and Social Consensus in the Seventies," Economic Journal, Royal Economic Society, vol. 93(372), pages 784-805, December.
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Cited by:
  1. Helge Sanner, 2006. "Imperfect goods and labor markets, and the union wage gap," Journal of Population Economics, Springer, vol. 19(1), pages 119-136, February.
  2. Oesch, Daniel, 2009. "Explaining high unemployment among low-skilled workers: Evidence from 21 European and Anglo-Saxon countries, 1991-2006," MPRA Paper 21041, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  3. Giorgio Calcagnini & Enrico Saltari, 2002. "Labour and financial market determinants of investiment decisions in Europe," Working Papers 56, University of Rome La Sapienza, Department of Public Economics.
  4. Grignon Michel, 2012. "Roadblocks to Reform: Beyond the Usual Suspects," Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis Working Paper Series 2012-01, Centre for Health Economics and Policy Analysis (CHEPA), McMaster University, Hamilton, Canada.
  5. Kittel, Bernhard, 2001. "How bargaining mediates wage determination: An exploration of the parameters of wage functions in a pooled time-series cross-section framework," MPIfG Discussion Paper 01/3, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.


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