How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States and Japan

How Institutions Evolve: The Political Economy of Skills in Germany, Britain, the United States and Japan

Paperback Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics (Paperback)

By (author) Kathleen Thelen, Series edited by Peter Lange, Series edited by Robert H. Bates, Series edited by Ellen Comisso, Series edited by Peter Hall, Series edited by Joel S. Migdal, Series edited by Helen V. Milner

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  • Publisher: CAMBRIDGE UNIVERSITY PRESS
  • Format: Paperback | 352 pages
  • Dimensions: 152mm x 224mm x 20mm | 476g
  • Publication date: 2 June 2010
  • Publication City/Country: Cambridge
  • ISBN 10: 0521546745
  • ISBN 13: 9780521546744
  • Edition statement: New.
  • Illustrations note: black & white illustrations
  • Sales rank: 520,622

Product description

The institutional arrangements governing skill formation are widely seen as a key element in the institutional constellations defining 'varieties of capitalism' across the developed democracies. This book explores the origins and evolution of such institutions in four countries - Germany, Britain, the United States and Japan. It traces cross-national differences in contemporary training regimes back to the nineteenth century, and specifically to the character of the political settlement achieved among employers in skill-intensive industries, artisans, and early trade unions. The book also tracks evolution and change in training institutions over a century of development, uncovering important continuities through putative 'break points' in history. Crucially, it also provides insights into modes of institutional change that are incremental but cumulatively transformative. The study underscores the limits of the most prominent approaches to institutional change, and identifies the political processes through which the form and functions of institutions can be radically reconfigured over time.

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Author information

Kathleen Thelen is Associate Professor of Political Science at Northwestern University. She is the author of Union of Parts: Labor Politics in Postwar Germany and co-editor of Structuring Politics: Historical Institutionalism in Comparative Analysis. Her work on labor politics and on historical institutionalism has appeared in, among others, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, The Annual Review of Political Science, Politics and Society, and Comparative Politics. She is chair of the Council for European Studies, and serves on the executive boards of the Comparative Politics, European Politics and Society, and Qualitative Methods sections of the American Political Science Association. She has received awards and fellowships from the Max Planck Society, the Institute for Advanced Study in Berlin, the Society for Comparative Research, the National Science Foundation, the Alexander von Humboldt foundation, the American Scandinavian Foundation, and the German Academic Exchange Program.

Review quote

'This book should be required reading for every academic writing about, or conducting research into, skills. ... I can thoroughly recommend this book.' Industrial Relations Journal

Table of contents

1. The political economy of skills in comparative-historical perspective; 2. The evolution of skill formation in Germany; 3. The evolution of skill formation in Britain; 4. The evolution of skill formation in Japan and the United States; 5. Evolution and change in the German system of vocational training; 6. Conclusions, empirical and theoretical.