Chapter

Convergence, Nonconvergence, Divergence

Wolfgang Streeck

in Re-Forming Capitalism

Published in print March 2010 | ISBN: 9780199573981
Published online October 2011 | e-ISBN: 9780191702136 | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199573981.003.0013
Convergence, Nonconvergence, Divergence

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Current debates on convergence and divergence in the political economy are usually discussed in terms of efficiency theories where the main cause of institutional change is competitive market pressures. While ‘best practice’ theories suggest that competition forces social formations to adapt some features of the US or the British version of a free market economy, which is their most successful competitors in the world market, competitive pressures are believed to lead to specialization and diversification instead of leading to convergence and uniformity. The chapter presents four points in discussing the debate on convergence: the institutional change observed over the past three decades cannot be explained simply as a convergence model; the problem lies on efficiency-theoretical accounts of institutional change in general; a template should be designed that will capture convergence and divergence simultaneously operation; and a process perspective should be used in analysing convergence and divergence.

Keywords: convergence; divergence; efficiency theories; specialization; diversification

Chapter.  3933 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Political Economy

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