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Quiet Politics and Business Power
Corporate Control in Europe and Japan

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Part of Cambridge Studies in Comparative Politics

  • Date Published: November 2010
  • availability: Available
  • format: Paperback
  • isbn: 9780521134132

$ 32.99 (P)

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About the Authors
  • Does democracy control business, or does business control democracy? This study of how companies are bought and sold in four countries – France, Germany, Japan, and the Netherlands – explores this fundamental question. It does so by examining variation in the rules of corporate control – specifically, whether hostile takeovers are allowed. Takeovers have high political stakes: they result in corporate reorganizations, layoffs, and the unraveling of compromises between workers and managers. But the public rarely pays attention to issues of corporate control. As a result, political parties and legislatures are largely absent from this domain. Instead, organized managers get to make the rules, quietly drawing on their superior lobbying capacity and the deference of legislators. These tools, not campaign donations, are the true founts of managerial political influence.

    • The book offers a general theory of why business groups are powerful in some areas of policy-making but weak in others, with applications to the United States as well as internationally
    • It shows clearly the political reasons for which hostile takeovers are easier in some countries than others
    • It is the first book to examine and explain the rise of public anger about executive pay in the US and in France
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    • Winner of the 2012 Stein Rokkan Prize, European Consortium for Political Research and International Social Science Council

    Reviews & endorsements

    “Quiet Politics is a roaring affirmation of the intellectual power that is generated by combining impressive theoretical sophistication with enormous empirical depth and great political acumen. These days, our debates about the politics of capitalism are noisy and shallow. All serious students of political economy will benefit from some quiet hours chewing on and digesting the intellectual feast that this book offers.”
    Peter J. Katzenstein, Cornell University

    “Professor Culpepper’s insightful analysis exposes a hidden dynamic that shapes takeover regulation in a diverse group of capitalist democracies: managers make the rules while politicians are not watching. Quiet Politics will change how readers think about the buying and selling of companies, and the process of regulating the market for corporate control.”
    Curtis J. Milhaupt, Columbia Law School

    “Why did some markets for corporate control become more active with financial globalization than others? Even though country specialists may disagree on some details in each country study, none can afford to ignore the larger message of this book. Culpepper correctly identifies the business interest as a critical ingredient in explaining differences in hostile takeover mechanisms across countries.”
    Ulrike Schaede, University of California, San Diego

    “This is a deeply challenging and provocative book, with implications for the study of the interrelationship of advanced capitalism and democratic politics far wider than just for corporate governance – interesting and important though Culpepper’s analyses are of the changing regulatory frameworks of the markets for corporate control in France, Germany, Japan and the Netherlands. Culpepper argues with detailed empirical plausibility that democracy can only impose change in technical policy debates if they are of high salience – otherwise business wins, and especially in areas of relatively informal regulation. Culpepper thus shows how governments can sometimes win but how business normally does. A subversive and very illuminating book to stir up comparative political economy.”
    David Soskice, University of Oxford and Duke University

    “Top managers rarely own more than a fraction of a country’s large stock companies, but they consistently shape the ownership rules and day-to-day practices that govern our large corporations. Pepper Culpepper illuminates this inescapable reality and advances an elegant theory of managerial power. Quiet Politics opens an important new arena in the political workings of advanced market economies.”
    J. Nicholas Ziegler, University of California, Berkeley

    “The analysis of takeovers in Quiet Politics and Business Power provides a sophisticated analysis of the political determinants of corporate governance and constitutes the most significant contribution to the debate in the wake of the works of Mark Roe and Peter Gourevitch. It is an essential read with a sobering implication, namely that policy-makers will only care about an issue if it has acquired high political salience no matter that importance of its economic stakes.”
    Michel Goyer, University of Warwick, Corporate Governance

    “Pepper Culpepper has written a remarkable book. Entitled Quiet Politics, it should nonetheless make quite some noise among political scientists.”
    Martin Rhodes, Josef Korbel School of International Studies, University of Denver, European Political Science

    "The theme of this book, the power of business, is a very timely one, and recent developments with the economic downturn in large parts of the "old" Western democratic world are raising many questions in this field...Comparative studies like this one are thus very important for gaining a deeper understanding."
    Marie Söderberg, Stockholm School of Economics, Journal of Japanese Studies

    "Quiet Politics and Business Power is an immensely thoughtful and stimulating book that should be read by all scholars of comparative political economy, and is of particular interest to those who wish to better understand contemporary changes in corporate governance in the industrialized world."
    ILR Review

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    Product details

    • Date Published: November 2010
    • format: Paperback
    • isbn: 9780521134132
    • length: 248 pages
    • dimensions: 234 x 156 x 13 mm
    • weight: 0.35kg
    • contains: 17 b/w illus. 19 tables
    • availability: Available
  • Table of Contents

    1. Corporate control and political salience
    2. Patient capital and markets for corporate control
    3. The managerial origins of institutional divergence in France and Germany
    4. The Netherlands and the myth of the corporatist coalition
    5. Managers, bureaucrats, and institutional change in Japan
    6. The noisy politics of executive pay
    7. Business power and democratic politics.

  • Instructors have used or reviewed this title for the following courses

    • Business and Politics
    • Comparative and Regional Studies Proseminar
    • Globalization and Contemporary Capitalism in Advanced Industrialized Nations
  • Author

    Pepper D. Culpepper, European University Institute, Florence
    Pepper D. Culpepper is Professor of Political Science at the European University Institute. He was previously on the faculty at the Harvard Kennedy School. He is the author of Creating Cooperation and coeditor of Changing France and The German Skills Machine. His work has appeared in International Organization, World Politics, Comparative Political Studies, Revue Française de Science Politique, Politische Vierteljahresschrift, West European Politics, the Journal of European Public Policy, the Journal of Public Policy, and the Oxford Review of Economic Policy, among others. Culpepper was a Marshall Scholar at Oxford University and received his Ph.D. in political science from Harvard University.


    • Winner of the 2012 Stein Rokkan Prize, European Consortium for Political Research and International Social Science Council

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