Varieties of Capitalism and Business

Bob Hancké

in The Oxford Handbook of Business and Government

Published in print February 2010 | ISBN: 9780199214273
Published online May 2010 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks in Business and Management

 Varieties of Capitalism and Business

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  • Business and Management
  • Organizational Theory and Behaviour
  • Business Ethics


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“Varieties of Capitalism” (VoC) approaches the question of business and state relations from a different angle, which allows for a combination of empirical range and analytical sharpness. Diversity within capitalism follows from the institutional solutions to the perennial information and coordination problems that firms face. Since such institutional solutions come in a limited number of discrete blocks, only a handful of them can be coherent enough to survive. This article first presents the basic outline and the main criticisms of VoC, and, based on that review and debate, explores three key dimensions of modern capitalist economies that influence business–state relations: the nature of business networks, cross-class coalitions between labor and capital, and the role of the state. That discussion leads to a revised typology of VoC which pays more attention to relations between the state and different coalitions of producer groups. The final section concludes.

Keywords: varieties of capitalism; institutional solutions; capitalist economies; business–state relations; business networks; cross-class coalitions; labor and capital

Article.  11469 words. 

Subjects: Business and Management ; Organizational Theory and Behaviour ; Business Ethics

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