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Varieties of Capitalism and the Auto Industry's Environmental Initiatives: National Institutional Explanations for Firms' Motivations


  • Mikler John J

    (University of Sydney)


The auto industry is usually considered to be a global industry. Yet the majority of passenger cars are still manufactured and sold in industrialised states where its largest firms are headquartered. The central claim made is that despite the auto industry being comprised of multinational corporations, there are clear national differences in the motivations firms cite for environmental initiatives. US firms are more focused on traditional material factors, especially market forces. However, German and Japanese firms are more focused on social concerns and internally-driven strategies. They have more normative, non-market rationales for their environmental initiatives. By analysing what firms themselves say motivates them to improve the environmental performance of their products, via a qualitative analysis of recent environmental reports by German, US and Japanese firms, as well as interviews conducted with key personnel, the conclusion reached is as follows. While the question of 'greenwashing' versus real commitment to reduce the environmental impact of the industry's products remains relevant, the institutional basis of capitalist relations in their home state (i.e. their home state's variety of capitalism) suggests different nationally appropriate and conducive paths to environmental commitments.

Suggested Citation

  • Mikler John J, 2007. "Varieties of Capitalism and the Auto Industry's Environmental Initiatives: National Institutional Explanations for Firms' Motivations," Business and Politics, De Gruyter, vol. 9(1), pages 1-40, May.
  • Handle: RePEc:bpj:buspol:v:9:y:2007:i:1:n:4

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