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Journal Articles Economy and Society Year : 2005

How and why capitalisms differ


The variety of capitalism school (VOC) and regulation theory (TR) are both analyses of the diversity of contemporary national economies. If VOC challenges the primacy of liberal market economies (LME) and stresses the existence of an alternative form, i.e. coordinated market economies (CME), TR starts from a long-term analysis of the transformation of capitalism in order to search for alternatives to the Fordist regime that emerged after the post-Second World War era. Both approaches make intensive use of international comparisons, challenge the role of market as the exclusive coordinating mechanism, and raise doubts about the existence of a 'one best way' for capitalism. Finally, they stress that globalization does deepen the competitive advantage associated with each institutional architecture. Nevertheless, their methodology differs: VOC stresses private firm governance, whereas TR considers the primacy of systemic and macroeconomic coherence. Whereas for VOC there exist only LME and CME, TR recurrently finds at least four brands of capitalism: market-led, meso-corporatist, social democrat and State-led. VOC seems to consider that the long-term stability of each capitalism can be challenged only by external shocks, but TR stresses the fact that the very success of a regulation mode ends up in a structural crisis, largely endogenous.

Dates and versions

hal-00812971 , version 1 (13-04-2013)



Robert Boyer. How and why capitalisms differ. Economy and Society, 2005, 34 (4), ⟨10.1080/03085140500277070⟩. ⟨hal-00812971⟩
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