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The varieties of capitalism paradigm: not enough variety?

Allen, Matthew (2004) The varieties of capitalism paradigm: not enough variety? Socio-economic review, 2 (1). pp. 87-108. ISSN 1475-147X

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Abstract

This paper attempts to shed light on some of the unstated assumptions of the varieties of capitalism framework by comparing it with its 'close relative'-that is, transaction cost economics-as well as neoclassical economics. These comparisons show that, within the varieties of capitalism approach, actors' strategic preferences are assumed to be endogenous to the institutional environment in which they operate. Moreover, important institutions are assumed to be uniformly spread across firms within a national economy. This latter presupposition ultimately makes the varieties of capitalism framework a structuralist approach. Despite its claims to the contrary that it is an actor-centred approach, the varieties of firms paradigm treats the varieties of firms as irrelevant. It is this variety that is lacking in the approach, and that needs to be addressed in any empirical assessments of it.

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