For presentation at a Conference on Politics in the New Hard Times in honor of Peter Gourevitch, University of California, San Diego, April 24, 2010. This is a highly preliminary draft. Please do not cite or believe it without permission from the author. Comments welcome. What are the adjustment problems facing the political economies of the developed world in the wake of global recession, and what adjustment paths can they be expected to take? These are economic questions, about the sources of demand and supply in a chastened world, and political questions, about how the will to adjust will be generated. Such issues can be approached in various ways, but my premise is that, in the political economy as in the forest, if we want to know where we are going, it is useful to know where we are coming from. Therefore, this paper places the dilemmas of the present in the context of the recent past by analyzing how the OECD economies addressed parallel challenges in the decades after the Second World War.
Prepared for a Workshop on Institutional Change, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, March 4-6, 2010. Please note this is a very rough draft. Comments welcome. What do we see when we look at the political world across space and time? In large measure, that depends on what we are looking for and the lens through which we look. This is as true of political science today as it was of seventeenth century scientists looking for phlogiston through rudimentary microscopes. Moreover, by conditioning what we can see, the lens we use conditions our assumptions about what we should see, notably about causal structures in the world, and thus what we find. From time to time, it is worthwhile asking whether we are looking for the right things through the right lenses.
Chapter based on an interview appearing in Aftershocks: Economic Crisis and Institutional Choice, edited by Anton Hemerijck, Ben Knapen and Ellen van Doorne, eds., (Amsterdam: Amsterdam University Press):93-102."My first indication of the risks of potential crisis came when the financial press began to speak openly about the 'bets' that international financial institutions were making, whether on the direction of the markets , on takeovers, or the like. Banks were no longer making investments; they were making bets. It was commonly understood that the character of banking had changed over the past 15 years, as financial institutions dramatically increased their leverage using new derivatives. But the level of risk taking described by Susan Strange as 'Casino Capitalism' was a new phenomenon.i A few years prior to the crisis, respected financial publications began explicitly using the word 'bet' to describe the investments institutions were making. That was when I began to worry, realizing that this had become a fundamentally different banking sector than the one I grew up with."
The relationship between health and social class is firmly established but theoretical understanding of its determinants is not well advanced. Existing approaches have limitations and their propositions are rarely tested against each other. We outline a new approach to the problem that links class-based inequalities in health to imbalances between life challenges and people's capabilities for coping with them and locates the sources of those capabilities in multiple dimensions of the social and economic relations constitutive of class. We assess the support for this approach and the relative impact of material, social and cultural factors in a statistical analysis of individual-level data from nineteen developed democracies.
Some of the most fruitful insights generated by social science in recent decades flow from explorations of how institutions, understood as sets of regularized practices with a rule-like quality, structure the behavior of political and economic actors.i It is not surprising that attention has now turned to the second-order problem of explaining when and how institutions change.ii In conceptual terms, however, this task is intrinsically difficult. By their nature, analyses designed to explain why institutions have a persistent impact on behavior tend to overstate the solidity of institutions. Acknowledging their plasticity raises questions about when institutions should be seen as determinants of behavior and when objects of strategic action themselves.
Contemporary approaches to varieties to capitalism are often criticized for neglecting issues of institutional change. This paper develops an approach to institutional change more extended than the one provided in Hall and Soskice(in Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Comparative Advantage, Oxford, Oxford University Press, 2001) but congruent with its varieties-ofcapitalism perspective. It begins by outlining an approach to institutional stability, which suggests that the persistence of institutions depends not only on their aggregate welfare effects but also on the distributive benefits that they provide to the underlying social or political coalitions; and not only on the Paretooptimal quality of such equilibria but also on continuous processes of mobilization through which the actors test the limits of the existing institutions. It then develops an analysis of institutional change that emphasizes the ways in which defection, reinterpretation and reform emerge out of such contestation and assesses the accuracy of this account against recent developments in the political economies of Europe. The paper concludes by outlining the implications of this perspective for contemporary analyses of liberalization in the political economy.
Thirty years after the initiatives of Ronald Reagan and Margaret Thatcher signaled the beginning of a neo-liberal era that would usher in widespread enthusiasm for competitive markets, the world is experiencing a global recession precipitated by financial crises rooted in the excesses of unbridled competition. As a result, the neoliberal era is at an inflection point, if not a close. Many people are reconsidering what markets can deliver and looking again to states for more assertive efforts to regulate and distribute resources. After several decades of irrational exuberance about what markets could accomplish, scholars are looking at capitalism with more sober eyes.
Why are some societies more successful than others at promoting individual and collective well-being? This book integrates recent research in social epidemiology with broader perspectives in social science to explore why some societies are more successful than others at securing population health. It explores the social roots of health inequalities, arguing that inequalities in health are based not only on economic inequalities, but on the structure of social relations. It develops sophisticated new perspectives on social relations, which emphasize the ways in which cultural frameworks as well as institutions condition people's health. It reports on research into health inequalities in the developed and developing worlds, covering a wide range of national case studies, and into the ways in which social relations condition the effectiveness of public policies aimed at improving health.
"Wealthier is healthier." This characteristically pithy observation by Lant Pritchett and Lawrence H. Summers (1993) summarizes one of the most firmly-established findings about population health. Health is closely related to social class. This "health gradient" shows up in all the developed democracies. On a wide variety of measures, people of higher socioeconomic status tend to be healthier than those on the lower rungs of the socioeconomic ladder.
How do European states adjust to international markets? Why do French governments of both left and right face a public confidence crisis? In this book, leading experts on France chart the dramatic changes that have taken place in its polity, economy and society since the 1980s and develop an analysis of social change relevant to all democracies.
For two hundred years, social science has provided the lens through which people view society and the visions animating most demands for political reform-at least since Adam Smith's efforts to unleash the "invisible hand" of the market without destroying the moral sentiments of society. However, the perspectives of social science shift, as each new generation questions its predecessors, with import for politics as well as the academy. From time to time, therefore, we should reflect on them. In this essay, I do so from the perspective of political science, mainly about American scholarship and with no pretense to comprehensiveness, but with a focus on the disciplinary intersections where so many have found Archimedean points.
La diversité des trois regards critiques offerts sur notre ouvrage reflète la diversité disciplinaire que nous avons voulue à l'origine de ce projet, visant à mobiliser les sciences sociales dans leur diversité (économie politique, histoire, sociologie, science politique...) pour comprendre la diversité des mutations économiques, sociales et politiques connues par la France au cours des 25 dernières années. Qu'est-il advenu du dirigisme économique ? du modèle social républicain ? de l'état tout puissant ? Comment comprendre la crise du politique en France ? Tels sont les chantiers sur lesquels notre ouvrage collectif, fruit d'une longue collaboration entre chercheurs français et américains, fait le point, afin de dresser un tableau aussi complet que possible des mutations françaises. ous avons ainsi traités des mutations du capitalisme français (perçu dans son ensemble par P. Culpepper, puis du point de vue du gouvernement d'entreprise par M. Goyer et de relations professionnelles par M. Lallement), des évolutions des piliers de la cohésion sociale (contrat entre les générations par L. Chauvel, réformes du système de protection sociale par B. Palier, évolutions des politiques d'éducation par A. Van Zanten, et des politiques d'accueil des migrants par V. Guiraudon), de la redistribution des pouvoirs de l'état (la décentralisation par P. Le Galès et le gouvernement européen par A. Smith) avant d'étudier les conséquences politiques de ces évolutions (les comportements politiques des Français par R. Balme, la crise de la représentation par S. Berger et l'adaptation du système de parti par G. Grunberg).
Challenging the contention that statistical methods applied to large numbers of cases invariably provide better grounds for causal inference, this article explores the value of a method of systematic process analysis that can be applied in a small number of cases. It distinguishes among three modes of explanation - historically specific, multivariate, and theory-oriented - and argues that systematic process analysis has special value for developing theory-oriented explanations. It outlines the steps required to perform such analysis well and illustrates them with reference to Owen's investigation of the 'democratic peace'. Comparing the results available from this kind of method with those from statistical analysis, it examines the conditions under which each method is warranted. Against conceptions of the 'comparative method' which imply that small-n case-studies provide weak grounds for causal inference, it argues that the intensive examination of a small number of cases can be an appropriate research design for testing such inferences.
Although democracy is often seen as an achievement secured once and for all at one point in time, when the suffrage was extended to the bulk of the population, for instance, in the late nineteenth or early twentieth century in western Europe, in fact, it is the product of an evolving process in which the institutions and ideals of representative government adapt to recurring challenges.1 Democratic institutions are not static features of the political space but subject to continuous challenge and change.
The new edition of the leading text on French politics brings together a completely new set of specially-commissioned chapters covering Chirac's presi...more The new edition of the leading text on French politics brings together a completely new set of specially-commissioned chapters covering Chirac's presidency, the 1997 election, the subsequent ""cohabitation,"" and the impact of the Jospin government. The book explores the impact of Europe on French policy-making, the French attitude toward globalization, and the challenges posed by unemployment, social exclusion, and institutional reform to longstanding practices of the French state.
Despite their highly-developed production regimes, modern capitalist economies are rarely static. Their prosperity stems from a capacity to promote 'cycles of creative destruction' (Schumpeter 1949) in which firms abandon older modes of production in order to exploit emerging technologies and new market opportunities. The French economy is no exception: in recent years, it has been called upon to reinvent itself in response to many developments. Foremost among these is the expansion of world markets, as declining barriers to trade, new forms of communication and political liberalization open attractive new markets and production sites around the globe. Rapid technological advance in microprocessors and bioengineering have generated a new industrial revolution, creating entirely sectors and transforming production across the economy. To exploit these developments, new managerial techniques have been adopted by companies all over the world, including just-in-time inventory systems, team production, closer client-supplier relations and new forms of quality. If the French economy cannot keep up with these changes, it cannot expect to flourish.
France has long been portrayed as a nation in which interest groups play a relatively meager and ineffective role in the political process. This view is predicated on three assumptions. The first is that the French are relatively disinclined to join voluntary associations as a result of extreme individualism and the stifling effects of centralization. The second is that the strong French state stands aloof from weakly organized interests. Its higher civil servants, imbued with a Jacobin ethos, vigilantly defend the general interest against ""pressure groups"" broadly viewed as illegitimate. When such ""lobbies"" do manage to affect the decision-making process, mainly through contacts in parliament, their success often derives from corrupt and even scandalous tactics. The third assumption is that the French are uniquely prone to engage in spectacular protest demonstrations. This seems logical: if societal interests are poorly organized and routinely ignored by the state, their only recourse would seem to be to take to the streets. While each of these three assumptions contains a grain of truth, none of them accurately describes the reality of French interest group politics in the Fifth Republic today. Perhaps the main reason why misleading images of group-state relations still have some currency is that French political scientists have traditionally focused on formal institutions, undertaking little empirical research on interest groups (Charlot, 1994, p. 230; Mény, 1989, p. 388). In recent years, however, a number of books and articles have given us a more nuanced view of interest group dynamics in contemporary France.
An old specter is haunting Europe: the specter of liberal orthodoxy. I refer to the view that the only way for a nation to secure high levels of economic growth and employment is to develop an economy built around perfectly competitive markets, an ideal-type that implies weak trade unions, substantially deregulated financial markets, and inter-firm relations based on highly-competitive relationships mediated by legal contracts rather than long-term collaborative arrangements. Of course, this is an Anglo-American orthodoxy, developed since the eighteenth century by British and American economists, whose ideals have been implemented most extensively and with great success in the economies of the United States and the United Kingdom.