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Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage Paperback – 30 Aug 2001

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Product details

  • Paperback: 570 pages
  • Publisher: OUP Oxford (30 Aug. 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0199247757
  • ISBN-13: 978-0199247752
  • Product Dimensions: 23.1 x 2.8 x 15.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 64,351 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
  • See Complete Table of Contents

Product Description


... this volume and its associated literature, will become the paradigm of explanation for the next decade. (West European Politics)

Contains some first-rate analysis. (British Journal of International Relations.)

This volume offers a new approach to understanding the institutional differences and similarities among the developed economies. (Progress in Human Geography)

A milestone in the development of the subdiscipline of comparative political economy ... There is no doubt that Varieties of Capitalism will prove to be a landmark text. It is a very important collection, of value to all students in the field. (American Political Science Review)

In a collection of consistently high-quality pieces, there are particularly valuable comparative chapters on industrial relations, training systems, and corporate governance. (American Political Science Review)

Written for the informed, non-specialist observer ... a useful and wide-ranging book. (Financial Adviser)

This is an academic book in the sense that it draws on recent advances in economic and political theory - non-economists may find some chapters hard going - but it is also firmly based on an analysis of how companies really behave ... an important and carefully argued book. (Sir Geoffrey Owen, Financial Times)

Quoted as one of the six books to change the world. (New Statesman)

It is a useful and wide-ranging book. (John Sloan, Financial Adviser Careers Extra)

This book has been well worth waiting for. It demonstrates the wealth of insights that could be achieved through Soskice's innovative research program that began to change the agenda of Comparative POlitical Economy more than a decade ago. The volume combines a definitive restatement of the varieties of capitalism approach with illuminative applications to the range of research areas covered by it with some fascinating theoretical extensions. Excellent! (Professor F.W. Scharpf, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne)

About the Author

Peter A. Hall is Frank G. Thomson Professor of Government and Harvard College Professor at Harvard University where he is also the Director of the Minda de Gunzburg Center for European Studies. He is the author or editor of several books and many articles on European politics, policy-making, and comparative political economy. His work has received numerous awards including the Woodrow Wilson Award for the best book in political science published in 1986 and the Luebbert Award for the best article in comparative politics published in 1998.

David Soskice is Research Professor of Political Science at Duke University and Adjunct Research Professor at the School for Social Sciences of the Australian National University. He is Emeritus Fellow in Economics at University College, Oxford, and on leave from the Wissenschaftszentrum für Sozialforschung in Berlin (WZB) where he has been Director of the Research Unit on Employment and Economic Change since 1990. He is the author or editor of several books and many articles on comparative political economy, macroeconomics, and labor economics.

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First Sentence
Industrial-relations systems in the advanced industrial countries are experiencing serious new strains as a result of intensified market competition and adjustment pressures. Read the first page
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12 of 12 people found the following review helpful By Sp Coulter on 28 April 2006
Format: Paperback
Varieties of Capitalism poses a key question: why aren't all modern capitalist states the same? Haven't globalisation's cheerleaders been telling us for years that all economies will inevitably converge around the Anglo-Saxon deregulatory model? Actually, no. Germany, for instance, remains the world's top exporter and other states have found ways to thrive economically that don't involve aping the US.

Their secret, according to Hall and Soskice, is that they play to their institutional strengths. Institutions, in political economy terms, are the unwritten rules and signals that govern actors' behaviour, and they vary widely between different states. The institutions that underpin, for instance, the highly co-ordinated German economy produce a particular economic outcome, one that is very different from those at work in liberal market economies like the US. Moreover, these institutions reinforce each other. For instance, the German governments' commitment to worker training means firms are able to pursue product strategies based on high value goods. The hausbank system, whereby firms are controlled through interlocking shareholdings of banks, reinforces this long-term outlook.

Contrast this with the equity-finance structures of UK and US firms, which produce a more short-termist outlook that is better at innovation but necessitates product strategy based on lower quality, price-sensitive goods - the "pile 'em high, sell 'em cheap" approach of a lot of manufacturing there.

The essays in Varieties of Capitalism, together with the excellent and clearly written introduction by Hall and Soskice, explore these institutional linkages in all their complexity.
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By Piotr Pietrzak on 11 Dec. 2014
Format: Paperback
The best economic textbook I have had a pleasure to read. That definitely confirms the fact that there is at least 1001 ways to a free market economy
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 1 review
0 of 1 people found the following review helpful
A great piece of work 3 Sept. 2013
By L. Gent - Published on
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a seminal piece of work in the varieties of capitalism literature, and the fact that it is still being referenced today speaks to the value it has added to the field. Yes, the theory presented in it is lacking in a number of respects, however it remains a must-read for anyone researching in the field.
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