Socio-Economic Review

Published by Oxford University Press (OUP)
Online ISSN: 1475-147X
Print ISSN: 1475-1461
Publications
An empirical analysis of various waves of the ALLBUS social survey shows that union density fell substantially in West Germany from 1980 to 2000. Such a negative trend can be observed for men and women and for different groups of the workforce. Repeated crosssectional analyses suggest that a number of personal, occupational and attitudinal variables such as sex, occupational status, firm size and political orientation play a role in the unionization process, although the influence of many variables is not robust over time. While the results are consistent with cost-benefit considerations on the sides of employees and unions, individualization theory and social custom theory is not consistently supported by our estimations.
 
Public employment regulation and market co-ordination (Multiple correspondence analysis). 
Propositions on the relationship between the administrative state and the market economy model
Politico-administrative regulation and market co-ordination (Principal component analysis). 
Market economy co-ordination scores and public employment regulation
Market economy co-ordination scores and politico-administrative regulation
This article examines the relationship between public administration regulation and market economy models in 20 OECD countries. Building on Pollitt and Bouckaert's (2004) administrative dimension, we employ explorative statistical analysis to identify three distinct public administration regimes: an Anglo-American, a French/German and a Scandinavian regime. The regime structure, especially with regard to public employment regulation, shows a high degree of institutional coherence with the co-ordination rules applying to the market economy. Probing deeper, we construct an index of politico-administrative regulation, which is compared to Hall and Gingerich's (2009) index of market coordination. The empirical evidence leads us to presume that public administration reforms are likely to focus on the existing market economy model when introducing private sector instruments to public administrations. -- Das vorliegende Arbeitspapier untersucht den Zusammenhang zwischen der Regulierung der �ffentlichen Verwaltung und der Regulierung von Marktwirtschaftsmodellen in 20 OECD-L�ndern. Auf Basis der von Pollitt und Bouckaert (2004) entwickelten Dimensionen �ffentlicher Verwaltungstypen wurden l�ndervergleichende Indikatoren zur Messung des Verwaltungstyps zusammengestellt und Hall und Gingerich's (2009) Klassifikation von Marktwirtschafmodellen gegen�bergestellt. Im Rahmen der explorativen statistischen Analyse werden drei Verwaltungsregime identifiziert: ein anglo-amerikanisches, ein deutsch/franz�sisches und ein skandinavisches. Die Regimestruktur weist, insbesondere mit Blick auf die Regulierung �ffentlicher Besch�ftigungsverh�ltnisse, ein hohes Ma� an institutioneller Kongruenz mit dem bestehenden Marktwirtschaftmodell auf. Die Befunde legen die Vermutung nahe, dass mit dem zugrundeliegenden Marktwirtschaftsmodel auch die Auswahl verwaltungspolitischer Reforminstrumente beeinflusst werden k�nnte.
 
Recent research on financial market development has focused on the nature of the legal system. The law and finance literature, however, exclusively focuses on the abuse of management power as a major cause of shareholder expropriation. We examine the role of the administrative capability of the state in providing and guaranteeing the institutional foundations for financial market development. The characteristic feature of bureaucracy is predictable, calculable and methodical performance. Our analysis of the linkage between bureaucratic quality and financial market development confirms our hypothesis that arm's length finance not only needs a reliable legal environment, but also bureaucratic effectiveness (1) We provide evidence that state bureaucratic performance plays a crucial role in determining financial market development; (2) We find that legal origin plays an indirect role, as it affects the financial market development through the channel of the quality of state bureaucratic performance, but it does not exert a direct and independent effect. Copyright 2009 Blackwell Publishing Ltd.
 
The corporate governance environment in the UK and US is generally thought to be hostile to the emergence of cooperative employment relations of the kind exemplified by labour–management partnerships. We discuss case-study evidence from the UK which suggests that, contrary to this widespread perception, enduring and proactive partnerships may develop, in conditions where management can convince shareholders of the long-term gains from this approach, and where other regulatory factors operate to extend the time-horizon for financial returns. We conclude that there is more scope than is commonly allowed for measures which could reconcile liquidity in capital markets with cooperation in labour relations.
 
Non-linear effect of age on market-based and state-based reform strategies
using 1999Korea barometer survey.
This paper gives an account of the financial crisis that took place in Korea from the point of view of the Korean population, using survey data collected in 1998 and 1999. Although both, internal and external factors were blamed as causes, domestic factors were considered to be of greater importance. After identifying respondents as supporting either market-based or state-based reform strategies using factor analysis, various determinants of these alternative views are being analysed within the framework of regression models. A particularly interesting result is that, contrary to theoretical assumptions and empirical evidence on other regions, it is political ideology and not individual economic determinants that helps to explain the respondents' attitudes towards reform strategies in Korea.
 
Five Types of Clothing Firms + , Based on Different Combinations of Steps in the Value Chain*
Structure of the German and UK Clothing Industries, 2001/2
Co-ordinating firm characteristics
Supplier networks and relationships
Clothing Industry Costs per Working Minute in Different Countries (in Euros)
In this paper we examine the sourcing strategies of clothing firms in the developed economies of the UK and Germany in the context of their national institutional framework. We argue that, as a result of their embeddedness in divergent national structures, these firms pursue different sourcing strategies and make different locational choices. We place particular emphasis on the different mix of arms� length and relational contracting that firms develop, and on the divergent degree of control over the manufacturing process and the product that they retain. We suggest that the construction of global production networks and control over supplier firms is mediated by co-ordinating firms� product strategy and the degree of dependence on national retailers this engenders. In the UK and Germany, firms and their networks differ from the US case which is normally taken as representative of the industry.
 
Since unification, the debate about Germany's poor economic performance has focused on supply-side weaknesses, and the associated reform agenda sought to make low-skill labour markets more flexible. We question this diagnosis using three lines of argument. First, effective restructuring of the supply side in the core advanced industries was carried out by the private sector using institutions of the coordinated economy, including unions, works councils and blockholder owners. Second, the implementation of orthodox labour market and welfare state reforms created a flexible labour market at the lower end. Third, low growth and high unemployment are largely accounted for by the persistent weakness of domestic aggregate demand, rather than by the failure to reform the supply side. Strong growth in recent years reflects the successful restructuring of the core economy. To explain these developments, we identify the external pressures on companies in the context of increased global competition, the continuing value of the institutions of the coordinated market economy to the private sector and the constraints imposed on the use of stabilizing macroeconomic policy by these institutions. We also suggest how changes in political coalitions allowed orthodox labour market reforms to be implemented in a consensus political system.
 
Logistic estimate of the probability to reduce workforce 
Estimated Impact of Workforce Reduction. Short-term Analysis (1995-1996) 
Estimated Impact of Workforce Reduction. Medium-term Analysis (1996-1997) 
Estimated Impact of Workforce Reduction. Long-term Analysis (1996-2000) 
Using a large annual database of French firms (1994–2000), this article examines the determinants of workforce reductions in publicly listed and non-listed companies and their consequences on firm performance. First, workforce reduction appears to be a defensive response to adverse economic shocks. However, publicly listed firms anticipate better than do unlisted companies the decision to cut jobs. Second, a difference-in-differences model indicates that there has been a very small but significant improvement in the major performance indicators for the non-listed companies. For listed companies, the corresponding estimates are not significant.
 
In 1996, two investigations conducted by the Securities and Exchange Commission and the American Department of Justice reported non-competitive practices among market makers on the NASDAQ. These reports also mentioned the influence of the NASDAQ social structure on market makers’ behaviours. Most market makers adopted social norms in order to increase significantly their income at the expense of the customers. This paper aims to explain the rise and long-term effects of non-competitive practices, through the integration of a concrete view of “embeddedness” (Granovetter, 1985). We propose the use of game theory tools to achieve this goal. A rereading of Kreps’ model of reputation sheds light on its structural dimension and illustrates the way social structure governs individual behaviours.
 
In his article 'The Case for a Multiple Utility Function' (Economics and Philosophy, 2, 159-83), Etzioni took the view that moral acts are qualitatively different from acts aimed at the satisfaction of desires. He introduced moral preferences and argued that these cannot be traded off against non-moral preferences and that, therefore, the quest for want-satisfaction and the sense of moral obligation are best kept apart. Acceptance of this view would lead to the practice of multiple utility functions. My aim is to show that the idea of a moral preference is only feasible as a meta-preference, and that the art of meta-ranking is practised when ranking incomparable preferences.
 
Liberal economic precepts have long been a foundation for the social science of poverty and continue to profoundly influence public policy. Liberal economics contends that poverty is dependent on the harmonious progress of economic growth, free market capitalism, worker productivity, and the supply and demand of labor. This article traces its origins from classical economics and its influence throughout contemporary social science, public policy and conventional wisdom. Next, I evaluate the liberal economic model of poverty with an unbalanced panel analysis of 18 Western nations from 1967 to 1997, and with newly available comparable data on relative poverty, economic growth, government receipts, productivity and unemployment. The results demonstrate that liberal economics provides a weak and ineffective model of poverty, and many of its precepts are wholly unsupported. Moreover, a central finding emerges that the size of the state has a large and significant negative effect on poverty after taxes and transfers. It is argued that poverty researchers should seriously question the liberal economic model and instead concentrate on the central role of the state in reducing poverty.
 
This conversation, transcribed from a conference in April 2002, is intended to illuminate current debates about the use and abuse of the embeddedness concept in economic sociology.
 
Economic and organizational sociologists tend to define markets as sets of producers, and research mostly supply-side issues. They generally ignore the role of consumers and their use of products, the source of profit for producers, a neglect especially problematical with regard to understanding market creation. A definition of markets as ‘producers and consumers of a product’ highlights the efforts to organize and legitimate product use that consumers, as well as producers, must undertake to help create markets. Much of this organization and legitimation involves setting up networked communities of producer and consumer organizations, which are also devoted to practical support of product use. In this article I trace the history of the early U.S. bicycle market to show how producers and consumers worked with each other and separately to organize and to confer legitimacy on product use, which supported the market.
 
Institutionalists commonly invoke exogenous shocks or the transposition of logics across national systems to explain institutional change and new path creation. Using organizational data on American infrastructure industries, this paper shows instead how established institutional paths contain within them possibilities and resources for transformation and off-path organization. Even settled paths are typically littered with flotsam and jetsam - with elements of alternative economic orders and abandoned or partly realized institutional projects. These elements of 'paths not taken' are legacies of constitutional struggles and movements for alternative forms of order whose settlement or defeat help fix the path that triumphed. Moreover, they represent resources for endogenous institutional change, including the revival, reassembly, redeployment and subsequent elaboration of alternative logics within national capitalisms. As the analysis of the US case shows, such legacies underwrote the construction of an entirely different, cooperatively organized path alongside the dominant path of impersonal markets and for-profit corporations. Taken together, these findings generate new leverage for explaining institutional change. They also highlight features of the US case that have been ignored by institutionalist and 'varieties of capitalism' research, including internal structural variety, endogenous change processes, and the co-evolution of cooperative or coordinated and liberal market economies within American capitalism.
 
This paper analyzes levels and trends in within-country income inequality during the second-half of the 20th century. Two broad general trends were visible: beginning in the 1950s and 1960s inequality declined substantially in most countries, and in the 1980s and 1990s it increased more variably and more slightly. However, we focus here on presenting and explaining the distinct 'macro-regional' regimes of inequality that became evident in this period. We identify six: Anglo, Nordic, Continental West European, Latin American, East Asian and South Asian. We show that intra-regional variations in inequality have been much less than inter-regional variations, and that the six regional regimes did not remain constant but had distinct trajectories through time. The Anglos were at first the most egalitarian, only later developing the greater inequality supposedly characteristic of their 'liberalism'. The Nordics only became the most egalitarian in the middle of our period. The Euro-Continentals began as the most unequal among the Western countries, but then became almost as equal as the Nordics. Latin America began and remained the most unequal region of all. East Asia was rather egalitarian, while South Asia converged towards a middling inequality. Though pressures towards more inequality strengthened from 1980, regional responses remained varied and path-dependent. Then, in more speculative vein, we seek to explain these regional patterns in macro-sociological terms. Beginning from a model of dynamic interactions between economic, ideological, military and political power relations, we trace the political institutionalization of distinct macro-regional ideologies of 'best practices' of socio-economic development.
 
This paper examines the quality of jobs generated during periods of job expansion from the 1960s through to the 1990s in the USA. The central results of the study are: first, the long 1990s economic boom produced a pattern of asymmetrically polarized job expansion: very strong expansion of jobs in the top tier of the employment structure combined with very limited growth in the middle. Secondly, while job growth at the top was strong in the 1990s, the overall pattern of job expansion was much less favorable for the labor force as a whole than in earlier expansions. Thirdly, there has been a dramatic change in the racial and gender patterns of job expansion since the 1960s: gender differences in job expansion were very sharp in the 1960s and quite muted in the 1990s, while the racially polarized character of job expansion has increased, especially at the bottom of the employment structure. Finally, immigration, especially of Hispanics, is deeply connected to the employment expansion in the bottom tiers of the employment structure. Underlying these descriptive patterns are dramatic changes in the sectoral patterns of job expansion in the 1990s compared with the 1960s: the much slower growth of middle-level jobs in the 1990s is rooted in the decline of manufacturing; the stronger growth of bottom-end jobs is rooted in accelerated growth of retail trade and personal services in the 1990s; and the very strong growth of high-end jobs is rooted in high tech sectors.
 
This article seeks to reconnect to scholarship from the 1970s and 1980s that emphasized significant discontinuities in the development of the US economy. Drawing on a unique data set of prize-winning innovations between 1971 and 2006, we document three key changes in the US economy. The first is an expanding role of inter-organizational collaborations in producing award-winning innovations. The second is the diminishing role of the largest corporations as sources of innovation. The third is the expanded role of public institutions and public funding in the innovation process. This leads us to the surprising conclusion that the USA increasingly resembles a Developmental Network State in which government initiatives are critical in overcoming network failures and in providing critical funding for the innovation process.
 
In recent years, a wave of publications within comparative political economy has focused on patterns of adjustments of the political economies of advanced industrial countries to such recent conditions as globalization and the effects of these adjustments with regard to macroeconomic outcomes. This article argues that a way to enhance the understanding of adjustment patterns and consequently macroeconomic outcomes is to focus on party politics and its consequences for the emergence of broad political agreement around a coherent socioeconomic policy, including controversial reforms of the welfare state and the labor market. Party politics has two aspects: namely, the strategies of political parties 'owning' the welfare state issue, i.e. Social Democratic parties and in some countries Christian Democratic parties, and the polarization of the party system, especially the strategies of extreme wing parties. The relevance of the argument is shown by analyzing socioeconomic policy making and macroeconomic outcomes in Denmark and The Netherlands since 1973.
 
This article challenges the notion that Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) is incompatible with neo-liberalism. It argues that CSR is not a countervailing force that follows neo-liberal market exposure. Instead of re-embedding global liberalism, CSR complements liberalization and substitutes for institutionalized social solidarity. Evidence from the UK, one of the world’s leading jurisdictions for responsible business, supports these claims. In Britain during the past 30 years, neo-liberalism and CSR have co-evolved. CSR has been a quid pro quo for lighter regulation; it has compensated for some of the social dislocations that result from unfettering markets, thereby legitimating business during the ‘unleashing’ of capitalism, and it appeals to moral sensibilities, justifying and legitimating business leaders in a way that instrumental rationality alone cannot. The paper draws on original sources to shed light on the origins and growth of Business in the Community, one of the world’s leading business-led CSR coalitions, since the 1970s.
 
In this essay, I attempt to provide supporting evidence as well as some balance for the thesis on `Transforming socio-economics with a new epistemology' presented by Hollingworth and Mueller (2008). First, I review a personal highlight of my own scientific path that illustrates the power of interdisciplinarity as well as unity of the mathematical description of natural and social processes. I also argue against the claim that complex systems are in general `not susceptible to mathematical analysis, but must be understood by letting them evolve over time or with simulation analysis'. Moreover, I present evidence of the limits of the claim that scientists working within Science II do not make predictions about the future because it is too complex. I stress the potentials for a third `Quantum Science' and its associated conceptual and philosophical revolutions, and finally point out some limits of the `new' theory of networks.
 
In this paper I critique and then develop Willman, Bryson and Gomez's (2006) ‘Sound of Silence’ model of employer voice choice. I argue that the original cost/benefits based model, while potentially very useful, particularly for investigating cross-sectional variation in the incidence of voice, is curiously ill equipped to explain variation in voice arrangements over time. This shortcoming is the result of the failure to state explicitly some of the key determinants of the costs and benefits of employer voice choice, namely union power and political economic organisation. I demonstrate how these variables have influenced the development of voice arrangements in Britain over the course of the last century and argue that as a result of these constraints, employer voice choice is often no choice at all.
 
Who Governs matters greatly to welfare state policy. An almost complete neglect of the parliamentary opposition in the comparative political economy suggests that only office-holding matters, but we disagree. We argue that opposition parties of the Left constrain Right governments’ welfare state policies, while opposition parties of the Right have no similar effect on Left governments. This is the asymmetric opposition-government response mechanism. Through the compilation of an extensive dataset, we test the mechanism across 23 countries from 1980-2007, and find strong evidence for the existence of the mechanism. This demonstrates that parties matter to policy formation not only as yielders of office power, but as agenda-setters too.
 
The past decade has witnessed a proliferation of accounting pronouncements that indicate that accounting rule-makers around the world are progressively abandoning the traditional historic cost model and actively embracing the fair value paradigm. In this regard, Barlev and Haddad (2003) argued that fair value accounting has the capacity to enhance the stewardship function by providing relevant information to stakeholders, thus alleviating social conflict. It is contended here that far from reducing conflict and alienation in the agricultural sector, the fair value approach is underpinned by neoclassical economic ideals that are not conducive to emancipatory accounting. Drawing upon Marx's notion of commodity fetishism, this paper analyses the ideological role of International Accounting Standard (IAS) 41 in legitimating social conflict in the context of fair trade coffee and forestry companies that were compelled by domestic legislation to adopt a full-fledged fair value accounting model in conformity with structural adjustment reforms instituted by the World Bank.
 
Efforts to understand the structure of the emerging knowledge economy have paid particular attention to the shifting boundary between academic and commercial (for-profit) research, especially in life sciences. Yet, empirical studies have tended to adopt a segmented approach, focusing on either industry or the academy, thus obscuring the increasingly interwoven nature of these two domains. In this paper, we explore the changing organizational logics that govern both academic and corporate science, using interview data gathered from two important clusters of the biotechnology industry: Route 128 in Massachusetts and the San Francisco Bay area. These data, while provisional, lead us to suggest that cultural traffic between university and commercial science has increased, blurring the boundary between them and generating a new and often contradictory knowledge regime, the product of a growing confluence of organizational logics that had previously been distinct. The emergence of this regime, which conforms to Stark's (2001) notion of ‘heterarchy’, holds important implications for prevailing theories of university–industry relations and of organizational change as well.
 
Average intra-categorical wage dispersion in Belgium and Germany (2008): broad a job categories 
Average intra-categorical wage dispersion in Belgium and Germany (2008): a educational attainment 
Average intra-categorical wage dispersion in Belgium and Germany (2008): labour a market experience 
This article examines the relationship between institutions and the remuneration of different jobs by comparing the German and Belgian labour markets with respect to a typology of institutions (social representations, norms, conventions, legislation and organizations). The observed institutional differences between the two countries lead to the hypotheses of (I) higher overall pay inequality in Germany; (II) higher pay inequalities between employees and workers in Belgium and (III) higher (lower) impact of educational credentials (work-post tenure) on earnings in Germany. We provide survey-based empirical evidence supporting hypotheses I and III, but find no evidence for hypothesis II. These results underline the importance of institutional details: although Germany and Belgium belong to the same ‘variety of capitalism’, we provide evidence that small institutional disparities within Continental-European capitalism account for distinct structures of pay.
 
‘Why discuss accounting in Socio-Economic Review?’ ‘Because accounting constructs socio-economic reality.’ ‘How?!’ ‘Theoretically speaking, there should be many ways of doing “account-ing” — an act of explaining business realities to multiple stakeholders of socio-economies. Practically speaking, however, the current trend is to use “Fair Value Accounting” which is considered to be useful particularly for investors, and this is now being globally standardized.’ ‘What are the impacts of such new accounting on wider stakeholders and on the socio-economy at large?’ ‘Many aspects of our life may have been undemocratically administrated without being noticed, because the Fair Value Accounting is presumed to be fair, while it is not.’ In order to promote discussions over how our socio-economies should be accounted for, this paper introduces, in a reader-friendly manner, problems of the International Accounting Standards (IAS) and the International Financial Reporting Standards (IFRS)¹, and calls for diverse perspectives of future research.
 
Comparative analysis of static and dynamic perspectives of business accounting Static Dynamic
Comparative analysis of pooling and purchase methods of accounting for business combinations
This paper aims at understanding the recent evolution of Chinese accounting standards while focusing on accounting for business combinations as a case of reference. A comprehensive comparative analysis between the standards of the International Accounting Standards Board and Chinese accounting standards is provided, based upon a dualistic approach towards two opposing perspectives of accounting, static (fair value) and dynamic (matching based). The comparison casts doubt on the ultimate convergence of Chinese and international accounting standards. Main differences remain and are explained by taking into account: (i) the special Chinese context, (ii) the massive industrial development experienced by business enterprises in China and (iii) the dynamic accounting perspective that leading accounting theorists and Chinese regulatory authorities agree with and wish to encourage.
 
Accounting is acknowledged to be a complex form of socio-economic activity whose historical evolution is co-extensive with that of human civilization. Indeed, it is argued that the rise of capitalism and the current hegemony of global capital would not have been possible without the existence of an institutionalized set of organized accounting practices. As processes of globalization have become increasingly evident, there have also been calls for international accounting harmonization (IAH) of accounting practices. At the same time, there have been impediments in the path towards achieving IAH, not the least of which have been cultural and economic differences among countries. As of 1 January 2005, the path towards IAH entered a new and perhaps decisive phase. From that date, all companies domiciled in the European Union with publicly traded securities must prepare their consolidated accounts in accordance with International Financial Reporting Standards. This event presents an opportunity for socio-economic researchers to assess the status of IAH research. In this review article, we summarize research published in major English language accounting research journals during the period from 1965 to 2004 in order to trace trends in IAH research and to assess where the research may evolve from here. We conclude that the evolution of IAH research reflects the overall trend towards institutional isomorphism that is present in the IAH process itself. Implications for future IAH research are discussed.
 
We elaborate an immanent critique of the International Accounting Standards Board (IASB), critically exploring its claim to serve the public interest by reference to its character and position, its official principles and its work vis-à-vis campaigns to disaggregate accounting focused on extractive industries and operating segments. We raise issues about the institution and its rhetoric and indicate that it does not straightforwardly apply its principles. Unable to abstract from its socio-political context, its accounting prescriptions intertwine with concerns to inform democracy and a related politics of accounting disaggregation. We attempt a rescuing critique, indicating IASB's potential to better serve the public interest.
 
From the early 1990s, Australia and New Zealand pioneered the application of business-style accounting practices to all government activities. Today these business-style practices are advocated for governments around the world, either via International Financial Reporting Standards or via the similar International Public Sector Accounting Standards (IPSAS). Although accounting might seem purely technical, accounting practices can carry with them significant constitutional and political (social) implications. Business-style accounting was not devised for governments and is not suited to provide the essential constitutional safeguards or to fulfil governments' public accountability obligations. These points are illustrated using evidence from New Zealand before explaining that today's IPSAS developments were led initially from New Zealand. This article urges those in other countries to consider constitutional and political implications before proceeding with this development.
 
Effective leadership structure for China's accounting strategy.
List of main actors and interviewees
Evaluation of the NAI by current students (senior accounting practitioners). 
List of interviews
Within the last decade, international accounting, as a common language of business and a mode of governance, has come to be widely disseminated in China, and has become an indispensable infrastructure of its socio-economy. This diffusion of accounting was propagated as a national strategy for growth, led by a few senior officials as key actors, and implemented through the National Accounting Institutes (NAIs) as a distinct institutional mechanism. Despite its importance, accounting is rarely examined in the literatures of knowledge transfer, institutional sociology, transitional economics and development studies. Drawing on the multidisciplinary methods of contemporary history, this paper casts light on the NAIs as a focal point which effectively transfers and disseminates new knowledge, order and the spirit of a market economy, and which could be further developed, with cautions, as a replicable model for transitional and developing economies.
 
This paper argues that the development of accounting can be well described as a process of rationalization. However, this need not imply the inexorable homogenization of economic activity, because beyond a certain point, rationalization defeats itself. Highly rationalized accounting leaves its users and creators disillusioned with it and inclined to exploit it as an abstract construct rather than to sustain it as a compelling system of knowledge. The paper explores the implications of this finding both for our understanding of how accounting influences economic life and for the future of the accounting profession.
 
For the purposes of understanding the causes and implications of the growth of financial markets around the world, I focus on a crucial aspect of the dramatic transformation of French capitalism over the last quarter of a century: the shift from a government-based financial system to a market-based one. I examine the causes and implications of the increasing role of financial markets in French capitalism on the basis of an analysis of the actors who issued securities on the country's financial markets. I show that the government's role as an issuer, and the deficits that drove its need for external funds, largely account for the development of these markets in the 1980s and early 1990s. In contrast, the dramatic growth of these markets from the late 1990s was primarily attributable to their use by French enterprises in pursuit of strategies of external growth, especially cross-border mergers and acquisitions. On the basis of my analysis, I challenge the argument that French corporate capitalism is now subject to the dictates of the financial markets but I also highlight the limits of the state's capacity to systematically shape the future of the French corporate economy. Instead, I argue that the existing French system can be better understood as one of managerial control in which senior corporate executives exercise considerable discretion in shaping the future of the companies they run.
 
Number of newspaper articles on hedge funds and private equity funds, 2000–2007. 
Actor constellations
Inward and outward FDI stock relative to GDP in 1990, 2000 and 2005. 
Public spending on active and passive employment policies in the Netherlands, 1991– 2005 (percentages). 
Dutch pension savings, 1997–2006. 
This paper ventures an institutional explanation for distinct patterns of political contestation over the rise of activist investors such as private equity and hedge funds in Europe and North America. Taking issue with the dichotomous nature of the literature on varieties of capitalism (VoC) and the homogenizing assumptions of the literature on financialization, we argue that the specific patterns of politicization in the US, Germany and the Netherlands over the rise of activist investors result from the different institutional structurings of these countries' political economies. Although our observations fit the current (re)discovery of agency in the VoC debate, we argue that they point in the direction of a less voluntaristic view of agency than seems fashionable today.
 
Organizations are increasingly externalizing work activities, but vary as to where and how they do so. Using a US employer survey, we examine within- and between-organization differences in the use of employment intermediaries such as temporary help agencies and contract companies, in whether external workers from these intermediaries supplement on-payroll employees or exclusively perform activities, and in the exercise of supervisory control over external workers. Organizations use workers from employment intermediaries more often in work activities separable from the core workflow. External workers tend to supplement regular workers engaged in more central activities and exclusively perform more peripheral ones; employers are more apt to supervise external workers for more central activities. Small, private sector employers are more likely to use employment intermediaries. When large organizations do use external workers, they tend to use them in a supplementary rather than exclusive way, and to exercise supervisory control over them.
 
This article aims at examining the strategic leeway of firms pursuing business strategies incompatible with the dominant institutional environment in a given market economy. In order to evaluate this question, we focus on the therapeutic biotech industry and draw a German–British comparison. Proponents of the varieties-of-capitalism (VoC) approach assume that German firms underperform in this industrial sector in comparison to British firms due to the institutional framework in which German firms operate; this framework is assumed to provide them with hardly any strategic latitude. The VoC approach is challenged by two alternative perspectives, in both of which it is believed that firms can have a high level of strategic leeway; in the first approach this is possible due to institutional heterogeneity within national market economies; and in the second approach, the above can be seen as the result of economic internationalization. Our empirical findings show that British firms are indeed more competitive in the therapeutical biotech industry, but only to a limited extent. German firms perform better than projected by the VoC approach because they operate in an institutionally heterogeneous environment and due to the impact of internationalization. Thus, we argue for the integration of these three perspectives in one explanatory approach.
 
This article provides an empirically grounded critique of ‘Participatory-Deliberative Public Administration’, based on an in-depth study of three participatory fora in South Africa: the National Economic Development and Labour Council, the Child Labour Intersectoral Group and the South African National AIDS Council. Drawing freely on Habermas' Between Facts and Norms, the article argues that coordination through deliberation is unlikely to occur in formal settings, where discourses are mostly about the accommodation of existing interests, and is more likely to be found in the informal public sphere, where the preferences of citizens are still malleable and where it is possible for civil society groups to build communicative power by articulating moral arguments that motivate and mobilize the public. This form of power can then be used by civil society groups to counterbalance other forms of (non-communicative) power that impinge on the formal decision-making sphere.
 
This article explores the political dynamics that have led to the adoption of inflation targeting in Israel, within the context of a broader process of policy paradigm shift. We consider inflation targeting as an institutional arrangement with far reaching consequences for the distribution of power between different state agencies. Therefore, like other processes of institutional change, its adoption is not the simple outcome of smooth processes of learning and acceptance of more rational and efficient practices. Rather, it is the result of political conflicts among state actors seeking to improve their positions in the political–economic field. On the basis of a detailed study of the political conflicts that emerged around the adoption of inflation targeting in Israel between the central bank and the Ministry of Finance, we illustrate the contested character of the institutionalization of the neo-liberal policy paradigm and highlight the actions of local political actors as a major mechanism through which worldwide diffusion of institutional practices takes place.
 
While comparative case studies have examined the importance of women as agents in creating and transforming the welfare state, and cross-national research has confirmed that women's labour force participation appears to both shape and be shaped by welfare policies and spending, little cross-national research has explored the roles of women activists in policy adoption. This research explores the case of the adoption of family allowance policies during the interwar and World War II/post-war period in 18 large industrialized welfare states using a qualitative comparative analysis that traces different “paths” to family allowance adoption. The strength of working-class movements plays a key role in creating family allowances in almost every context, but is combined with two different factors—Catholic populations (for countries such as France, The Netherlands and Austria) and women's movements within the Left (for countries such as the UK, Sweden and Norway). This research illustrates that in certain contexts and at certain time periods, women activists played a key role in creating family policies, presenting a more complete model of women's roles in welfare state transformation.
 
Four types of industrial relations systems
The performance matrix
Income distribution
This article presents a simple formal model of institutional complementarity (IC) applied to industrial relations, and develops two important aspects of IC. We first develop a formal definition for the static and dynamic aspects of IC and then relate these to the interaction between financial relations and the outcome of a wage bargaining between firms and trade unions. Trade unions and firms have the choice between a cooperative negotiation targeting at the long-term success of the firm and a conflictual relation targeting at maximizing the current share. One important determinant in this game will be the time horizon financial investors have as they influence the realization of future gains of cooperation between workers and firms. When financial investors are patient, a pareto-superior cooperative equilibrium can be attained. On the other hand, whenever one of the two bargaining parties gets too weak, the viability even of the long-term equilibrium is threatened.
 
For scientists, it is a rewarding experience when our research findings are taken seriously and become the object of an international scientific debate. I thus gratefully acknowledge the interest which Steven Casper has taken in my work by responding in a recent volume of the Socio-Economic Review (Casper, 2009) to the results which Knut Lange (Lange, 2009) and myself (Herrmann, 2008a) had published in previous issues. My article did not address Casper’s research directly. However, like the work of Lange, my findings raise questions about Casper’s results as they arrive at opposite conclusions regarding the sustainability of radically innovative firms in Germany.
 
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Hans-Georg Betz
  • University of Zurich
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Daniel Oesch
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  • The University of Warwick