Global economic recession is calling once again into question the capacities of states and markets to manage the allocation of resources and the endeavors of people in terms that secure overall prosperity as well as a just distribution of economic well-being. It raises issues about the appropriate role of the state in market economies and the social as well as political underpinnings required for policy-making to be effective.
As familiar institutions come under new challenges and are in many cases again in flux, the current conjuncture also raises questions about how effective institutions and regulatory regimes are constructed. How are distinctive welfare states, varieties of capitalism and modes of policy-making constructed? What factors drive their development? When institutions are socially-embedded, how does the ‘social’ inflect the directions taken by institutional change and the results of such changes?
These are not new issues. The economic and political events of the 1930s posed similar challenges to capitalist democracies. In the decades since World War II, successive waves of international economic integration have inspired responses from states and markets. However, those responses have varied over time and across countries. That variation and the experience of previous efforts to readjust the balance between state and market, in a wide range of spheres of policy-making, provide cases in which these issues can be examined.
The object of this workshop is to bring together scholars from multiple generations studying such issues from a range of perspectives, running from economics through political science to sociology, to exchange views and explore alternative analytical frameworks for understanding how governments respond to social and economic challenges, how the institutions that regulate social and economic relations shift over time, and how the circumstances of specific nations or regions mediate such developments.