What are the most fundamental differences among the political economies of the developed world? How do national institutional differences condition economic performance, public policy, and social well-being? Will they survive the pressures for convergence generated by globalization and technological change? These have long been central questions in comparative political economy. This book provides a new and coherent set of answers to them. Building on the new economics of organization, the authors develop an important new theory about which differences among national political economies are most significant for economic policy and performance. Drawing on a distinction between 'liberal' and 'coordinated' market economies, they argue that there is more than one path to economic success. Nations need not converge to a single Anglo-American model. They develop a new theory of 'comparative institutional advantage' that transforms our understanding of international trade, offers new explanations for the response of firms and nations to the challenges of globalization, and provides a new theory of national interest to explain the conduct of nations in international relations. The analysis brings the firm back into the centre of comparative political economy. It provides new perspectives on economic and social policy-making that illuminate the role of business in the development of the welfare state and the dilemmas facing those who make economic policy in the contemporary world. Emphasizing the 'institutional complementarities' that link labour relations, corporate finance, and national legal systems, the authors bring interdisciplinary perspectives to bear on issues of strategic management, economic performance, and institutional change. This pathbreaking work sets new agendas in the study of comparative political economy. As such, it will be of value to academics and graduate students in economics, business, and political science, as well as to many others with interests in international relations, social policy-making, and the law.
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Oxford University Press