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date: 11 July 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This chapter reviews the “varieties of capitalism” (VOC) literature on comparative political economy alongside the development of French political economy scholarship and the evolution of Western capitalism through this body of work. It shows that, although France has a distinct kind of capitalism from other Western countries, particularly in this period of crisis, and that French scholars have used the “French touch” to assess political economy issues through the lens of discourse/“référentiel,” ideas, and institutions, the French case has been incorporated in comparative VOC theory-building. Indeed, the French model is under the same global economic challenges and is enmeshed in Europeanization, like other capitalist economies. Today, the lines between comparative VOC and French work have become more fuzzy, as French scholars increasingly include insights from recent VOC scholarship into their own work and have simultaneously influenced this newer comparative work.

Keywords: comparative political economy, varieties of capitalism, French capitalism, liberal market economies, coordinated market economies, référentiel, institutional approach

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