Peter Hall and David Soskice (eds.), Varieties of Capitalism (2001)

Summary:_ Collection of essays built around the concepts of “comparative institutional advantage” and “institutional complementarities.” Key concept is a relational view of the firm, where firms gain their competitiveness and institutional advantage to the degree that they exploit the institutional complementarities of the national system in which they find themselves embedded. There are five spheres in which firms can develop their capabilities: industrial relations, vocational training and education, corporate governance, interfirm relations, and intrafirm relations with their own employees.


_Important Insight:_  ”The institutional structure of a particular economy provides firms with advantages for engaging in specific types of activities there.” (37)


_Critique:_ Analysis can just stop here, a kind of institutional determinism, if competitiveness is simply determined by institutional structures.


Read opening essay if you can get the book