Capitalist Development and the Market for Corporate Control
"Why is gradual institutional change in contemporary capitalism not random but patterned, proceeding toward liberalization rather than in no particular or some other direction?" This question, posed by Wolfgang Streeck in 2009, marks a shift of focus toward the dynamics of change within capitalist systems and away from the static cross-country comparisons that still dominate contemporary political economy. By focusing on political responses, this project complements Streeck's emphasis on specific behavioral characteristics of capitalist social actors that drive forward market expansion. The project examines parliamentary debates in Britain, France, Germany, and the US from the 1950s onward to document a gradual decline of political resistance to contested takeovers. Concepts from evolutionary biology are used to identify generalizable mechanisms whereby political incentives change as markets expand. These self-reinforcing mechanisms help explain why decades often pass before unprecedented marketization provokes re-regulatory action. Project duration: January 2012 to September 2013.