From Comparing Capitalisms to the Politics of Institutional Change

Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 15, 2008

45 Pages Posted: 30 May 2009

See all articles by Gregory Jackson

Gregory Jackson

Freie Universität Berlin

Richard Deeg

Temple University

Date Written: April 30, 2008


The notion of distinct national varieties or systems of capitalism gained considerable currency in the last two decades. This review essay highlights three theoretical premises which define what we call the comparative capitalisms (CC) approach to political economy: First, national economies are characterized by distinct institutional configurations; second, these configurations are a source of comparative institutional advantage; and third, the configurations are stabilized by institutional path dependence. Within these common premises, the CC literature contains a number of competing theories and we highlight the fundamental distinctions among them and draw out their respective limitations. We specifically examine the role of politics within the CC literature and how emerging conceptions of politics may contribute to understanding institutional change in capitalist systems.

Keywords: Comparative capitalism; business and society; institutional change; path dependence; comparative advantage; policy coalitions

Suggested Citation

Jackson, Gregory and Deeg, Richard, From Comparing Capitalisms to the Politics of Institutional Change (April 30, 2008). Review of International Political Economy, Vol. 15, 2008, Available at SSRN:

Gregory Jackson (Contact Author)

Freie Universität Berlin ( email )

Boltzmannstrasse 20
D-14195 Berlin, 14195


Richard Deeg

Temple University ( email )

Philadelphia, PA 19122
United States

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