"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.
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.
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.
The nations of the European Union (EU) are taking a major step toward greater economic and political integration by creating a monetary union to be administered by a European central bank that is formally independent of political control. There is broad consensus among the governing elites of Europe, informed by an extensive literature in economics, that the independence of the new central bank will confer important economic advantages on the new European Monetary Union (EMU) as one unintentional publication concluded, ''The argument for central bank independence. . . appears overwhelming.''
The 'new institutionalism' is a term that now appears with growing frequency in political science. However, there is considerable confusion about just what the 'new institutionalism' is, how it differs from other approaches, and what sort of promise or problems it displays. The object of this essay is to provide some preliminary answers to these questions by reviewing recent work in a burgeoning literature.