The Euro crisis and varieties of capitalism: Endurance or transformation?

Town Hall - Committee Room 3
Time Slot: 
Monday 30th March 11:30 - 13:00
Panel Chair: 
  • Professor Gerd Strohmeier (TU Chemnitz)
Panel Members: 
  • Professor Lothar Funk (Duesseldorf University of Applied Sciences)
  • Dr Christian Schweiger (Durham University)
  • Mr Benjamin Klos (Brunel University)
  • Dr Katja Sarmiento-Mirwaldt (Brunel University)

Thirteen years after the publication of Hall’s and Soskice’s landmark volume on ‘Varieties of capitalism’ (VoC), there has been much research into the key political, economic and social features of different economic models, the complementarities between these features and the comparative strengths and weaknesses of different models. Hall and Soskice suggested an initial distinction that contrasted Anglo-Saxon liberal market economies with continental, or coordinated, market economies. More categories, such as Southern or Central and Eastern European varieties have gradually been added to the VoC literature since then, though not all of these additions have been accepted as definitive. The Euro crisis has raised some fundamental questions about the endurance of the different varieties of capitalism in Europe. The crisis had a major impact on the economies of the Eurozone member states and the other members of the EU. However, in different countries the crisis has affected different aspects of the national economies, sometimes with profound implications for institutional complementarities. On the one hand, policy responses to the crisis – both at national and European level – have been rooted in national political cultures. On the other, some of these responses, notably the reforms demanded of southern European economies in return for financial support, would imply at least a partial shift from one variety of capitalism to another. This raises the question of how adaptable different varieties of capitalism in periods of economic and political turmoil. Generally, the assumption in the literature is that national economies are highly resistant to radical change. Conversely, recent developments would suggest that governments can introduce programmes of sweeping reform, though this has profound implications for social cohesion as well as trust in politicians. This panel addresses this question by comparing five European countries whose economies that are representative of different varieties of capitalism: Germany, the UK, Greece, Poland and the Czech Republic.