EHESS seminar 2015 – 2016

Understanding institutional change in Asia

A comparative perspective with the United States and Europe

In the debates among economists, historians, sociologists and political scientists on the diversity of capitalism and institutional change, Asian capitalism have been partly ignored for many years, contrary to US and European capitalisms. Political economy theories and concepts have been applied to Asia only recently and only for some institutional and historical configurations. However, the fast development of Asian economies and the diversity of their trajectories should lead us to address new questions. For example, we have to understand the paradoxical impact of liberalization in these economies that did not lead to a convergence towards Anglo-Saxon capitalism, whose institutions were a model for the promoters of these reforms. Another example concerns the emergence of new forms of inequalities and the transformation of models of social protection. A final example is related to the reemergence under new forms of the Developmental State in Asia.

In this context, this seminar promotes integrated conceptual approaches in order to understand the contemporary transformation of Asian capitalisms and to explore the relationships with changes at the global, national and local levels on the one hand, technological, social and political on the other hand. The objective of the seminar is to introduce these ongoing researches. It is divided into four parts:
• General introduction to the political economy of institutional change and diversity of capitalism
• Institutional liberalization and increasing diversity of firms
• Dynamics of inequalities and transformation of social protection systems in Asia
• Towards a revival of the developmental state in Asia?

This seminar, which is based on an ongoing research program with colleagues from Freie Universität Berlin, University of British Columbia, Oxford University and Waseda University (“Instit-Asia” supported by CNRS (GDRI) and “INCAS” sponsored by a Marie Curie RISE program) will also welcome presentations by Robert Boyer (CNRS-EHESS) based on his new book Political Economy of capitalisms (La Découverte, 2015), as well as Hideko Magara (Waseda University), on 16 March 2016, Linda Weiss (University of Sydney), on 6 April 2016 and Kathleen Thelen (MIT) on 1 June 2016.

  • Dates: From 25 November 2015 to 1 June 2016
  • Venue: EHESS, Room 638, 190 avenue de France 75013 Paris FRANCE
  • Contact : Sébastien Lechevalier (

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