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How and why capitalisms differ


  • Robert Boyer

    (PJSE - Paris-Jourdan Sciences Economiques - ENS Paris - École normale supérieure - Paris - EHESS - École des hautes études en sciences sociales - ENPC - École des Ponts ParisTech - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique, CEPREMAP - Centre pour la recherche économique et ses applications)


The variety of capitalism school (VOC) and regulation theory (TR) are both analyses of the diversity of contemporary national economies. If VOC challenges the primacy of liberal market economies (LME) and stresses the existence of an alternative form, i.e. coordinated market economies (CME), TR starts from a long-term analysis of the transformation of capitalism in order to search for alternatives to the Fordist regime that emerged after the post-Second World War era. Both approaches make intensive use of international comparisons, challenge the role of market as the exclusive coordinating mechanism, and raise doubts about the existence of a 'one best way' for capitalism. Finally, they stress that globalization does deepen the competitive advantage associated with each institutional architecture. Nevertheless, their methodology differs: VOC stresses private firm governance, whereas TR considers the primacy of systemic and macroeconomic coherence. Whereas for VOC there exist only LME and CME, TR recurrently finds at least four brands of capitalism: market-led, meso-corporatist, social democrat and State-led. VOC seems to consider that the long-term stability of each capitalism can be challenged only by external shocks, but TR stresses the fact that the very success of a regulation mode ends up in a structural crisis, largely endogenous.

Suggested Citation

  • Robert Boyer, 2005. "How and why capitalisms differ," Post-Print hal-00812971, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-00812971
    DOI: 10.1080/03085140500277070
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server:

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Carola Jungwirth & Petra Moog, 2004. "Selection and support strategies in venture capital financing: High-techs or low-techs - hands-off or hands-on?," Working Papers 0024, University of Zurich, Institute for Strategy and Business Economics (ISU).
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    Cited by:

    1. Bieling, Hans-Jürgen, 2011. "Varieties of Capitalism, Regulationstheorie und neogramscianische IPÖ: Komplementäre oder gegensätzliche Perspektiven des globalisierten Kapitalismus?," Discussion Papers 23, University of Hamburg, Centre for Economic and Sociological Studies (CESS/ZÖSS).
    2. Cognard, Étienne, 2013. "Intégration européenne et déclin du néo-corporatisme. Un renversement de perspective à la lumière des accords collectifs sur la formation continue," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 14.
    3. Ashby H. B. Monk, 2008. "The Knot of Contracts: The Corporate Geography of Legacy Costs," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 84(2), pages 211-235, April.
    4. Bridget O'Laughlin, 2008. "Forum 2008," Development and Change, International Institute of Social Studies, vol. 39(6), pages 945-957, November.
    5. Alexei Izyumov & Trista Claxon, 2009. "Models of Capitalism and Income Distribution in Transition Economies: A Comparative Perspective," Journal of Economic Issues, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 43(3), pages 733-758.
    6. ten Brink, Tobias, 2010. "Strukturmerkmale des chinesischen Kapitalismus," MPIfG Discussion Paper 10/1, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
    7. Fritz, Martin & Koch, Max, 2014. "Potentials for prosperity without growth: Ecological sustainability, social inclusion and the quality of life in 38 countries," Ecological Economics, Elsevier, vol. 108(C), pages 191-199.
    8. Rachael Gibson & Harald Bathelt, 2014. "Proximity relations and global knowledge flows: specialization and diffusion processes across capitalist varieties," Chapters,in: Regional Development and Proximity Relations, chapter 9, pages 291-314 Edward Elgar Publishing.


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