British Journal of Political Science

Research Article

Varieties of Capitalism and Institutional Complementarities in the Political Economy: An Empirical Analysis

Peter A. Hall and Daniel W. Gingerich*


This article provides a statistical analysis of core contentions of the ‘varieties of capitalism’ perspective on comparative capitalism. The authors construct indices to assess whether patterns of co-ordination in the OECD economies conform to the predictions of the theory and compare the correspondence of institutions across subspheres of the political economy. They test whether institutional complementarities occur across these subspheres by estimating the impact of complementarities in labour relations and corporate governance on growth rates. To assess the durability of varieties of capitalism, they report on the extent of institutional change in the 1980s and 1990s. Powerful interaction effects across institutions in the subspheres of the political economy must be considered if assessments of the economic impact of institutional reform in any one sphere are to be accurate.


* Department of Government, Harvard University and Woodrow Wilson Department of Politics, University of Virginia (email: The authors wish to record their gratitude to Alexander Kuo and Stanislav Markus for efficient research assistance and to the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation for a grant to Hall for research and writing. For helpful comments, they wish to thank James Alt, Bruno Amable, Moreno Bertoldi, Robert Boyer, Colin Crouch, Ekkehard Ernst, Peter Gourevitch, Torben Iversen, Bruce Kogut, Jonas Pontusson, Marino Regini, David Soskice and Wolfgang Streeck.