Beyond the Regulation Approach
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Beyond the Regulation Approach

Putting Capitalist Economies in their Place

Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum

This book presents a detailed and critical account of the regulation approach in institutional and evolutionary economics. Offering both a theoretical commentary and a range of empirical examples, it identifies the successes and failures of the regulation approach as an explanatory theory, and proposes new guidelines for its further development.
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Chapter 3: Fordism, Post-Fordism and the Capitalist State

Bob Jessop and Ngai-Ling Sum


It is a cliché repeated by critics and advocates alike that the state is a regulationist weak point. Thus Boyer’s critical introduction to the RA noted that ‘research in terms of regulation … has not generally involved theories of the state’ (1990a: 41). Elsewhere, identifying the state as a crucial ‘missing link’, he called for ‘second-generation’ research to examine the state (1990c: 10, 14–20; cf. 1990a: 94, 109, 112–13; cf. Noël 1987; Barrère et al., 1984; Boismenu and Drache 1990a; Drugman 2000; Robles 1994; Théret 1990a, 2002; Hirsch 1992; Clarke 2001). The main exception to this neglect is West German work but this risks overemphasizing the state’s role as a regulatory or, better, regularizing instance. In addressing this weakness, we review early regulationist accounts of the state, mapping different approaches and identifying their respective theoretical problems and empirical deficits. Next we suggest how RA insights may be applied to the state itself as a complex institutional ensemble in need of regulation. We then present a secondgeneration regulationist and state-theoretical account of the changing form and functions of the capitalist type of state in the transition to postFordism. We thereby introduce state-theoretical concerns into the RA and bring regulationist concepts into analyses of the state and, at the same time, build on the analysis of Fordism and post-Fordism introduced in the preceding chapter. This opens the route to an analysis of the integral state (the state in its inclusive sense) and its decisive economic nucleus that...

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