How and Why Capitalisms Differ
Both the varieties of capitalism school (VOC) and regulation theory (RT) address the issue of how and why capitalisms differ. If VOC challenges the primacy of liberal market economies (LME) and stresses the existence of an alternative form, i.e. coordinated market economies (CME), RT 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-WW II era. Both approaches frequently use in-depth international comparisons, challenge the role of the market as the exclusive coordinating mechanism, and raise doubts about the existence of 'one best way' for capitalism. Finally, they stress that globalization deepens the competitive advantage associated with each institutional architecture. Nevertheless, their methodology differs: VOC stresses private-firm governance, whereas RT considers the primacy of systemic and macroeconomic coherence. Whereas for VOC there exists only LME and CME, RT recurrently finds at least four brands of capitalism: market-led, meso-corporatist, social democratic and state-led. VOC seems to consider that the long-term stability of each form of capitalism can only be challenged by external shocks, but RT stresses the fact that the very success of a regulation mode ends up in a – largely endogenous – structural crisis. Whereas RT started from a rather economic point of view and now investigates the crucial role of politics, VOC originated largely in political science and political economy but now explores the economic theory of the firm.
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- Eliasson, Gunnar, 1984. "Micro heterogeneity of firms and the stability of industrial growth," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 5(3-4), pages 249-274.
- Amable, Bruno, 1999. "Institutional complementarity and diversity of social systems of innovation and production," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 99-309, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
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