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How Many Varieties of Capitalism? Comparing the Comparative Institutional Analyses of Capitalist Diversity


  • Jackson, Gregory
  • Deeg, Richard


This essay reviews the development of approaches within the comparative capitalisms (CC) literature and points to three theoretical innovations which, taken together, define and distinguish these approaches as a group. First, national economies are characterized by distinct institutional configurations that generate a particular systemic 'logic' of economic action. Second, the CC literature suggests a theory of comparative institutional advantage in which different institutional arrangements have distinct strengths and weaknesses for different kinds of economic activity. Third, the literature has been interpreted to imply a theory of institutional path dependence. Behind these unifying characteristics of the literature, however, lie a variety of analytical frameworks and typologies of capitalism. This paper reviews and compares these different frameworks by highlighting the fundamental distinctions among them and drawing out their respective contributions and limitations in explaining economic performance and institutional dynamics. The paper concludes that the way forward for this literature lies in developing a more dynamic view of individual institutions, the linkages between domains, and the role of politics and power.

Suggested Citation

  • Jackson, Gregory & Deeg, Richard, 2006. "How Many Varieties of Capitalism? Comparing the Comparative Institutional Analyses of Capitalist Diversity," MPIfG Discussion Paper 06/2, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies.
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:mpifgd:062

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Mark J. Roe, 1997. "The Political Roots Of American Corporate Finance," Journal of Applied Corporate Finance, Morgan Stanley, vol. 9(4), pages 8-22.
    2. Taylor, Mark Zachary, 2004. "Empirical Evidence Against Varieties of Capitalism's Theory of Technological Innovation," International Organization, Cambridge University Press, vol. 58(03), pages 601-631, July.
    3. Marco Becht & Ailsa Roell, 1999. "Blockholdings in Europe: an international comparison," ULB Institutional Repository 2013/13316, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    4. Amable, Bruno, 2003. "The Diversity of Modern Capitalism," OUP Catalogue, Oxford University Press, number 9780199261147.
    5. Black, S-W & Moersch, M, 1997. "Financial Structure, Investment and Growth in OECD Countries," Papers 21, American Institute for Contemporary German Studies-.
    6. Corbett, Jenny & Jenkinson, Tim, 1996. "The Financing of Industry, 1970-1989: An International Comparison," Journal of the Japanese and International Economies, Elsevier, vol. 10(1), pages 71-96, March.
    7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-deSilanes & Andrei Shleifer & Robert W. Vishny, 1999. "Investor Protection: Origins, Consequences, and Reform," NBER Working Papers 7428, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
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    Cited by:

    1. Castro Caldas, José & Neves, Vítor & Reis, José, 2011. "Why is economics so fragile?," Revue de la Régulation - Capitalisme, institutions, pouvoirs, Association Recherche et Régulation, vol. 9.
    2. Alexander Ebner, 2010. "Varieties of Capitalism and the Limits of Entrepreneurship Policy: Institutional Reform in Germany’s Coordinated Market Economy," Journal of Industry, Competition and Trade, Springer, vol. 10(3), pages 319-341, September.
    3. Ioanna Boulouta & Christos Pitelis, 2014. "Who Needs CSR? The Impact of Corporate Social Responsibility on National Competitiveness," Journal of Business Ethics, Springer, vol. 119(3), pages 349-364, February.
    4. Bruno AMABLE (Université Paris I and CEPREMAP) & Yannick LUNG (GREThA UMR CNRS 5113 and GERPISA), 2008. "The European Socio-Economic Models of a Knowledge-based society. \r\nMain findings and conclusion \r\n," Cahiers du GREThA 2008-26, Groupe de Recherche en Economie Théorique et Appliquée.
    5. repec:bla:jomstd:v:54:y:2017:i:3:p:261-303 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Adegbite, Emmanuel & Amaeshi, Kenneth & Nakajima, Chizu, 2013. "Multiple influences on corporate governance practice in Nigeria: Agents, strategies and implications," International Business Review, Elsevier, vol. 22(3), pages 524-538.
    7. Lucie Davoine & Christine Erhel & Mathilde Guergoat-Larivière, 2008. "A Taxonomy of European Labour Markets Using Quality Indicators," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00317280, HAL.
    8. Meelen, Toon & Herrmann, Andrea M. & Faber, Jan, 2017. "Disentangling patterns of economic, technological and innovative specialization of Western economies: An assessment of the Varieties-of-Capitalism theory on comparative institutional advantages," Research Policy, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 667-677.
    9. Tashlin Lakhani & Sarosh Kuruvilla & Ariel Avgar, 2013. "Across Boundaries: The Global Challenges Facing Workers and Employment Research 50th Anniversary Special Issue," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 51(3), pages 440-472, September.
    10. Susanne Rühle, 2011. "A Different Capitalism for China? The Role of Guanxi and the Family for Chinese Economic Development," Chapters,in: Institutional Variety in East Asia, chapter 8 Edward Elgar Publishing.
    11. Daniel Haberly, 2014. "White Knights from the Gulf: Sovereign Wealth Fund Investment and the Evolution of German Industrial Finance," Economic Geography, Clark University, vol. 90(3), pages 293-320, July.
    12. Rosemary Batt & Hiroatsu Nohara & Hyunji Kwon, 2010. "Employer Strategies and Wages in New Service Activities: A Comparison of Co-ordinated and Liberal Market Economies," British Journal of Industrial Relations, London School of Economics, vol. 48(2), pages 400-435, June.
    13. Braun, Benjamin, 2016. "Gross, greed, and ETFs: The case for a microfounded political economy of the investment chain," economic sociology_the european electronic newsletter, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, vol. 17(3), pages 6-13.

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