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  • Cited by 19
Cambridge University Press
Online publication date:
October 2021
Print publication year:
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Book description

This volume brings together leading political scientists to explore the distinctive features of the American political economy. The introductory chapter provides a comparatively informed framework for analyzing the interplay of markets and politics in the United States, focusing on three key factors: uniquely fragmented and decentralized political institutions; an interest group landscape characterized by weak labor organizations and powerful, parochial business groups; and an entrenched legacy of ethno-racial divisions embedded in both government and markets. Subsequent chapters look at the fundamental dynamics that result, including the place of the courts in multi-venue politics, the political economy of labor, sectional conflict within and across cities and regions, the consolidation of financial markets and corporate monopoly and monopsony power, and the ongoing rise of the knowledge economy. Together, the chapters provide a revealing new map of the politics of democratic capitalism in the United States.


'Until recently, specialists in American politics have left debates about globalization, the rise of economic inequality, and the transformation of labor markets to economists and scholars of comparative politics. In this impressive volume, an accomplished group of scholars demonstrates the value of integrating the study of American politics with an interdisciplinary political economy approach that embraces sober and systematic explorations of the most urgent questions of our time.'

Jonathan Rodden - Stanford University

'The American Political Economy is an agenda-setting collection, a must-read of theoretically bold and empirically wide-ranging contributions to our understanding of galloping inequalities and democratic erosions in the contemporary United States. Business power, union decline, racial inequities, government weakness, and regional disparities – all get provocative fresh looks here. Scholars and students alike will find much to debate and new questions to investigate.'

Theda Skocpol - Harvard University

'Injecting the study of American politics with a badly needed dual dose of economic realism and comparative insight, The American Political Economy reminds us of the inescapable and mutual embedding of a fragmented state in a heterogeneous economy and a racially divided populace. A transformative collection whose paradigmatic lessons will keep on giving, for decades.'

Dan Carpenter - Harvard University

'This is the rare edited volume that features real intellectual heft. It not only bids fair to reorient the study of American political life but it also promises to shape the scholarly sensibilities of generations to come. Drawing on contributions from a dazzling roster of luminaries and rising stars, it makes a compelling case that political economy should occupy a central place in our understanding of American politics.'

Anthony S. Chen - Northwestern University

‘The authors are afraid of neither unpleasant topics nor big conclusions. The texts successfully deal with key institutional aspects of the contemporary American economy, and in this sense the volume is important both for its empirical insights and for its conceptual breakthroughs. … [the book] can be read by all interested political scientists as it is broad and accessible enough, and it should be read by all researchers in the social sciences who deal with comparative institutional analysis and the American economy as it represents a relevant contribution to these topics.’

Josip Lučev Source: Annals of the Croatian Political Science Association (translated from Croatian)

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