CFP: Varieties of Capitalism and Business History

15 02 2018

AS: I’m sharing the CFP for a special issue of the journal Business History on Varieties of Capitalism (VoC). The editors of the SI will be running a PDW at Stirling Management School in Scotland in early June.  My sense is that this special issue will complement and update the SI on VoC that appeared in the Business History Review back in 2010. As someone who helps to teach a course on comparative capitalism, this CFP is quite interesting to me.



Business-Government relations and national economic models: how do varieties of capitalism emerge and develop over time?

Special Issue Editorial Team

Niall G MacKenzie, University of Strathclyde (
Andrew Perchard, University of Stirling (
Neil Forbes, Coventry University (
Christopher W Miller, University of Glasgow (

The varieties of capitalism concept and literature has been dominated by conceptual
institutional modelling (Hall and Soskice, 2001; Hancké et al, 2007; Whittington and
Mayer, 2002; Whitley, 1999). Business and economic historians have undertaken a
number of significant works on varieties of capitalism in the form of empirical
transnational firm and sectoral case studies (Chandler 1990; McCraw, 1997;
Musacchio and Lazzarini, 2015; Cassis, 2002; Fellman et al, 2008; Sluyterman,
2014). A special issue in Business History Review in 2010 sought to bring a number
of prominent business historians together to offer their thoughts on how business
history can contribute to the varieties of capitalism literature which has been
described as “ahistorical, at least in its original formulation” (Friedman and Jones,
2010). This call for papers seeks to extend and complement the work produced in
that issue to consider how varieties of capitalism evolve in relation to governmentbusiness relations, building on and extending recent work by Thomas and
Westerhuis on networks of firm governance and national economic models (2014),
by elucidating how business-government relations affect the development and
promulgation of different types of varieties of capitalism.


The focus of much of the existing canon on varieties of capitalism is centred on aggregated models of institutional environments, and less on the critical interactions between principal actors within the economy, of which both businesses and governments are key.
Indeed, recent work has been critical of the relatively static conceptualization and
narrowness of the varieties of capitalism idea (Baccaro and Pontusson, 2016). To
this end, business historians are uniquely placed to comment on the specifics and
wider relevance of the role of both businesses and governments, the character of
their interactions, and motivations, in the formation and development of varieties of
In the political science field, the conceptual institutional modelling of varieties of
capitalism has been exemplified by the work of eminent political economists Hall and
Soskice (2001) who have advanced what they term as the five spheres in which
firms must develop relationships to resolve co-ordination problems in their core
competencies: industrial relations; training and education; corporate governance;
inter-firm relations; and employee relations.


We are seeking to understand the dynamics of such engagements beyond simple
firm-level competence and into the nature, structure, flows and intensity of
interactions between firms and governments across different contexts and time as a
way of explaining the development of different forms of capitalism. To this end, both
descriptive and analytical analyses are welcome in submissions.
We posit that varieties of capitalism (VoC) develop in different ways, partly as a
result of the complex interactions between government and business over time and
in different contexts.


An example of the demonstrable opportunities, and the current
gap, are to be found in the lack of engagement between international political
economy discourses on development (for e.g. Acemoglu and Robinson, 2013), and
detailed historical studies of business in the decolonizing world (e.g. White;
Stockwell; Butler, 2008; Decker, 2005). Similarly, detailed business historical studies
of elites and networks within specific commodity markets offer to provide valuable
insights to models of VoC (e.g. Ingulstad et al, 2014) and how they emerge, are
impacted by, and impact on business-government relations. A further illustration of
this can be found in the emergence of a particular form of capitalism in post-Soviet
Russia where well-documented business-government interactions created a number
of super-wealthy oligarchs against a backdrop of economic change and upheaval. To
this end, we propose that VoC act as a framework for analysis of such relations in
submitted papers, both focusing on individual countries, and companies operating
across countries where appropriate.

We encourage new historically informed reflections on national
economic models and institutional environments, especially from under-represented
territories (for example, South Asia, Eastern Europe, Africa and Latin America), or
during scenarios such as war, disasters, or other exogenous crises, or on the role of
family wealth in developing forms of capitalism (for example the influence of the
Wallenberg family in Sweden, or the Rothschilds’ financial influence). The proposed
special issue will raise the profile and awareness of the potential contribution of
business history to wider debates on capitalist systems of economic organization by
utilising the unique insights gleaned from historical enquiry into the actions and
motivations of business and government actors to interrogate the efficacy of the
varieties of capitalism concept. In turn, this will have wider value beyond business
history and offer a demonstrable contribution to a range of other disciplinary studies.
We welcome innovative submissions that combine empirical studies with conceptual
literature both on business-government relations and national economic models
(including different conceptualisations of national and regional economies).
Submissions may adopt a local, regional, and/or national, foci. Whilst we welcome
submissions focusing on any country, we particularly encourage those covering
relatively under-researched regional models of capitalism (such as Eastern
European, African and Latin American areas). All manuscripts will be expected to
demonstrate an active engagement with historical approaches and methods,
conceptual models, and be based on substantive use of historical sources (public
and private archives, oral history and other personal narratives). Articles that engage
with both the political science and business history fields are particularly welcome.
Amongst the topics and themes suggested are:

 The development of varieties of capitalism and national economic
 Governments as business actors in terms of rule setting and
participation in business activities;
 How and why firms engage with government within different national
and transnational contexts;
 The different experiences of businesses and sectors of industry under
national governments during wars and major conflicts and the resultant
impact on national economic systems;
 Theorising on national economic modelling and institutional
environments from historical perspective; and
 Different forms of capitalism and regulation.
The above is by no means an exhaustive list, but rather an indicator of the types of
work the editors are provisionally interested in seeing.

Submission instructions:
Articles should be based on original research and should not be under consideration
by another journal. Abstracts of articles of up to 1,000 words should be submitted by
30 April 2018 via ScholarOne, using the drop down to select submission to the
Special Issue on Business-government relations and national economic models:
How do varieties of capitalism emerge and develop over time?

The abstracts initially selected for the Special Issue will be presented as full papers
in a workshop that will take place at the Stirling Management School, University of
Stirling, Scotland, in early June 2018, sponsored by the Stirling Management School
and the Business History Editors’ Fund. The final version of the papers, to be
submitted via ScholarOne by 15 August 2018, should be the result of this workshop.

All abstracts and articles will be peer reviewed and, therefore, some may be
rejected. Authors should ensure that their manuscripts comply with the Business
History formatting standards. Authors who are not English native speakers are
responsible for having a native English-speaking copyeditor check and correct their
texts before final acceptance.



One response

19 02 2018

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: