"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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
Applying the new economics of organization and relational theories of the firm to the problem of understanding cross-national variation in the political economy, this volume elaborates a new understanding of the institutional differences that characterize the 'varieties of capitalism' found among the developed economies. Building on a distinction between 'liberal market economies' and 'coordinated market economies', it explores the impact of these variations on economic performance and many spheres of policy-making, including macroeconomic policy, social policy, vocational training, legal decision-making, and international economic negotiations. The volume examines the institutional complementarities across spheres of the political economy, including labour markets, markets for corporate finance, the system of skill formation, and inter-firm collaboration on research and development that reinforce national equilibria and give rise to comparative institutional advantages, notably in the sphere of innovation where LMEs are better placed to sponsor radical innovation and CMEs to sponsor incremental innovation. By linking managerial strategy to national institutions, the volume builds a firm-centered comparative political economy that can be used to assess the response of firms and governments to the pressures associated with globalization. Its new perspectives on the welfare state emphasize the role of business interests and of economic systems built on general or specific skills in the development of social policy. It explores the relationship between national legal systems, as well as systems of standards setting, and the political economy. The analysis has many implications for economic policy-making, at national and international levels, in the global age.
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.