Institutions in History: Bringing Capitalism Back in

THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS, pp. 659-686, Glenn Morgan, John L. Campbell, Colin Crouch, Ove Kaj Pedersen and Richard Whitley, eds., Oxford University Press, 2010

MPIfG Discussion Paper No. 09/8

34 Pages Posted: 28 May 2011  

Wolfgang Streeck

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies

Date Written: November 1, 2009

Abstract

The paper explores possible frontiers of historical-institutionalist analysis. It argues three points: that progress will require a return from a static to a dynamic perspective in which change is no longer a special case but a universal condition of any social order; that theory must not a priori rule out the possibility that institutional change may be more than just random fluctuation, and that it could instead be part of a transition from one state of development to another; and that capturing the dynamic nature of social institutions – and of social order in general – will require an analytical framework that is adapted to the historical specificities of concrete social formations. Central concepts around which future work in institutionalist political economy may be organized are suggested to be history, development, evolution, and capitalist development. The general idea is that social science stands to benefit, not from ever-advancing abstraction and generalization, but on the contrary from fitting its theoretical template to the historical specificity of the society it is dealing with.

Keywords: capitalism, institutional change, political economy

JEL Classification: P16

Suggested Citation

Streeck, Wolfgang, Institutions in History: Bringing Capitalism Back in (November 1, 2009). THE OXFORD HANDBOOK OF COMPARATIVE INSTITUTIONAL ANALYSIS, pp. 659-686, Glenn Morgan, John L. Campbell, Colin Crouch, Ove Kaj Pedersen and Richard Whitley, eds., Oxford University Press, 2010; MPIfG Discussion Paper No. 09/8. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1852543

Wolfgang Streeck (Contact Author)

Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies ( email )

Paulstr. 3
Cologne, 50676
Germany

HOME PAGE: http://www.mpifg.de/people/ws/index_de.asp

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