Redefining the Rules of the Economic Game
New Horizons in Institutional and Evolutionary Economics series
Edited by Marie-Laure Djelic and Sigrid Quack
Chapter 7: Path-dependent National Systems or European Convergence? The Case of European Electricity Markets
Atle Midttun, Augusto Rupérez Micola and Terje Omland INTRODUCTION An ongoing debate on the internationalization of modern economy conveys two quite different pictures. On the one hand, international integrationists like Ohmae (1985, 1995) or Doz and Pralahad (1993) argue that the modern economy is moving towards seamless integration. Ohmae goes on to argue that this leads to convergence of firm strategy and behaviour. On the other hand, the national styles argument (Whitley 1992, 1999; Hollingsworth and Boyer 1997; Hall and Soskice 2001) points to national institutions as still exerting a dominant influence over current business practices. Given the close interplay between economic, political and institutional dimensions (Polanyi 1944, see also Djelic and Quack in the introduction to this volume) this debate may be pursued at two levels: at an economic level and at a political/institutional one. At the economic level the focus is on how international trade, foreign investments, global capital markets and firm internationalization impact on and interact with national markets. At the political level the focus is on international agreements, treaties or institutions and how they impact on national economic behaviour. Of particular interest is the interface between transnational organizations and institutions (for example the World Trade Organization or WTO) or supranational constructions (for example the European Union or EU) and national entities. Taking the broad institutionalist framework of this book as a point of departure, this chapter specifies a more explicit framework for discussing globalization up against national styles. Drawing on evolutionary theory, and the distinction...
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