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Mapping the business systems of 61 major economies: A taxonomy and implications for varieties of capitalism and business systems research

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

  • Michael A. Witt
  • Luiz Ricardo Kabbach de Castro
  • Kenneth Amaeshi
  • Sami Mahroum
  • Dorothee Bohle
  • Lawrence Saez

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Original languageEnglish
Article numbermwx012
Pages (from-to)1-34
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Early online date5 Apr 2017
StateE-pub ahead of print - 5 Apr 2017


Efforts to build a universal theory of the world’s business systems require empirical grounding in an understanding of the variety that need explaining. To support such theorizing, we analyzed the institutional structures of 61 major economies, accounting for 93.5 percent of 2013 world GDP (PPP). We found nine main types of business systems: Highly Coordinated, Coordinated Market, Liberal Market, European Peripheral, Advanced Emerging, Advanced City, Arab Oil-Based, Emerging, and Socialist Economies. Our findings illustrate the need to go beyond the Varieties of Capitalism and Business Systems frameworks; provide empirical support for the CME vs. LME dichotomy for part of the OECD; identify some of the business systems proposed recently as sub-types of larger clusters; indicate that institutional diversity may increase with development level; and cast doubt on notions of state-led and family-led capitalism as types of business systems. Our discussion further suggests numerous avenues for theory development and empirical research.

    Research areas

  • varieties of capitalism, Africa, Asia, Central and Eastern Europe, Middle East, South America

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