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Institutional complementarity and diversity of social systems of innovation and production

  • Amable, Bruno

According to the contemporary political economy literature on France, the country appears caught in the worst of all possible worlds: it fails to create the conditions for economic growth and employment by deregulating labour markets as the UK has done, and it lacks the institutional infrastructure that makes the German economy an export success. This paper, which analyses the adjustment of the French economy in the 1980s and into the 1990s, argues that this image of France is wrong. This literature misunderstands the relative position of French industry and misinterprets how firms managed to successfully make the transition from conventional mass production to flexible quality production. The particular French mode of coordination, revolving around the state-centered elite political-economic structure, was at the basis of this adjustment path. The paper analyses how this mode of coordination interacted with the crisis of the French production regime in the early 1980s, and with the changes in the ownership structures of large firms in response to that crisis. The resulting corporate governance structure increased the autonomy of top management from the state as well as capital markets, and led to a situation whereby far-reaching organisational changes in the large companies could be pursued.

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Paper provided by Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB) in its series Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment with number FS I 99-309.

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Date of creation: 1999
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Handle: RePEc:zbw:wzbece:fsi99309
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  1. Soskice, David, 1996. "German technology policy, innovation, and national institutional frameworks," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 96-319, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  2. Palokangas, Tapio, 1996. "Endogenous growth and collective bargaining," Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control, Elsevier, vol. 20(5), pages 925-944, May.
  3. Casper, Steven, 1999. "National institutional frameworks and high-technology innovation in Germany: the case of biotechnology," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 99-306, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  4. Nathan Sussman & Yishay Yafeh, 1998. "Institutions, Reforms, and Country Risk: Lessons from Japanese Government Debt in the Meiji Period," CIRJE F-Series CIRJE-F-20, CIRJE, Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo.
  5. Bruno Amable & Jean-Bernard Chatelain, 1995. "Systèmes financiers et croissance: les effets du court-termisme," Université Paris1 Panthéon-Sorbonne (Post-Print and Working Papers) halshs-00118638, HAL.
  6. Amable, Bruno & Chatelain, Jean-Bernard & De Bandt, Olivier, 1998. "Stability versus efficiency of the banking sector and economic growth," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9811, CEPREMAP.
  7. Richard R. Nelson, 1995. "Recent Evolutionary Theorizing about Economic Change," Journal of Economic Literature, American Economic Association, vol. 33(1), pages 48-90, March.
  8. Casper, Steven, 1998. "The legal framework for corporate governance: explaining the development of contract law in Germany and the United States," Discussion Papers, Research Unit: Economic Change and Employment FS I 98-303, Social Science Research Center Berlin (WZB).
  9. Douglass C. North, 1994. "Institutions Matter," Economic History 9411004, EconWPA.
  10. Petit, Pascal, 1998. "Formes structurelles et régimes de croissance de l'après fordisme," CEPREMAP Working Papers (Couverture Orange) 9818, CEPREMAP.
  11. Freeman, Chris, 1995. "The 'National System of Innovation' in Historical Perspective," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 19(1), pages 5-24, February.
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