Sociology of the Economy, The

Sociology of the Economy, The

Frank Dobbin Editor
Copyright Date: 2004
Published by: Russell Sage Foundation
Pages: 456
https://www.jstor.org/stable/10.7758/9781610448420
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    Sociology of the Economy, The
    Book Description:

    The new economic sociology is based on the theory that patterns of economic behavior are shaped by social factors.The Sociology of the Economybrings together a dozen path-breaking empirical studies that explore how social forces-such as shifts in political power, the influence of social networks, or the spread of new economic ideas-shape real-world economic behavior.

    The contributors-all leading economic sociologists-show these social forces at work in a diverse range of international settings and historical circumstances. Examining why so many American banks followed industry leaders into foreign markets in the 1970s, only to pull back within a few years, Mark Mizruchi and Gerald Davis suggest that social emulation rather than rational calculation led banks to expand globally before there was any evidence that foreign offices paid off. William Schneper and Mauro Guillé show that despite the international diffusion of the hostile takeover during the last twenty years, the practice became widespread only in countries with political institutions conducive to buying and selling entire companies. Thus during the 1990s, the United States and United Kingdom. saw hundreds of hostile takeover bids, while Germany had only a handful, and Japan just one. Deborah Davis explores resistance to the globalization of Western ideas about real-estate ownership-particularly in China where the government has had little success in instituting a market system in place of traditional, family-based real-estate inheritance. And Richard Scott examines the controversial rise of managed care in the American healthcare system, as the quest for market efficiency collided with the ideal of equity in access to health care.

    Together, these studies provide compelling evidence that economic behavior is not ruled by immutable laws, and is but one realm of social behavior, with its own conventions, roles, and social structures.The Sociology of the Economydemonstrates the vitality of empirical research in the field of economic sociology and the power of sociological models in explaining how markets operate.

    eISBN: 978-1-61044-842-0
    Subjects: Sociology, Economics

Table of Contents

  1. Front Matter
    (pp. i-iv)
  2. Table of Contents
    (pp. v-vi)
  3. Contributors
    (pp. vii-viii)
  4. Acknowledgments
    (pp. ix-x)
  5. 1 INTRODUCTION: THE SOCIOLOGY OF THE ECONOMY
    (pp. 1-26)
    Frank Dobbin

    In recent years, sociologists have returned to study the field’s first subject, economic behavior. Beginning in the 1840s, Karl Marx tried to understand the economic underpinnings of class relations and political activity. Forty years later, Émile Durkheim explored how work was divided up in modern societies and the implications for occupational behavior. By the end of the nineteenth century, Max Weber was concerned with understanding the origins of economic institutions and behavior patterns. Then, between about 1920 and 1980, sociologists turned away from the study of economic behavior per se. They studied economic institutions, such as firms and unions, but...

  6. PART I HOW POLITICAL INSTITUTIONS SHAPE MARKETS

    • 2 ORGANIZING AMERICA
      (pp. 29-42)
      Charles Perrow

      At the table that historians and most social scientists have set for us to explain our national history sit three major figures: industrialization (including technological change), culture, and politics. In the volume upon which this article is based,Organizing America: Wealth, Power, and the Origins of Corporate Capitalism(Perrow 2002), I argue that scholars have largely ignored the eight-hundred-pound gorilla that came to dominate that table in the late nineteenth century and has continued to dominate it since. The gorilla is the large for-profit organization, barely regulated, vertically integrated, and bureaucratic. Its power and influence in shaping the direction of...

    • 3 THE STATE AND THE ASSOCIATIONAL ORDER OF THE ECONOMY: THE INSTITUTIONALIZATION OF CARTELS AND TRADE ASSOCIATIONS IN JAPAN, 1931 TO 1945
      (pp. 43-73)
      Bai Gao

      Cartels experienced a rapid development in the Japanese economy during the Great Depression and World War II. Between the Sino-Japanese War of 1894–95 and World War I, a few voluntary cartels emerged, mostly among small-scale exporters; most were short-lived. The cartels in heavy industries that developed rapidly after the Russo-Japanese War of 1904–5 mainly controlled sales and seldom controlled production. Only after World War I did cartels begin to control production and sales simultaneously. Even then, however, they were still few in number (Haley 1991, 146; Takahashi 1933, 138–39). After World War I, while industrywide coordination was...

    • 4 ON LEGAL INSTITUTIONS AND THEIR ROLE IN THE ECONOMY
      (pp. 74-92)
      Richard Swedberg

      One of the great achievements of twentieth-century sociology as a social science discipline is to have studied the role of institutions, in the economy and elsewhere.¹ Economists, as a result of the ill-fated Battle of the Methods toward the end of the nineteenth century, chose to disregard institutions and instead focus on the pure play of economic interests in the market. With the loss of interest in economic institutions, their attention to political institutions, including legal institutions, also suffered. Today, as we know, economists have put institutions on their agenda and have slowly come to understand that unless these are...

  7. PART II HOW ECONOMIC MODELS SHAPE MARKETS

    • 5 THE GLOBALIZATION OF AMERICAN BANKING, 1962 TO 1981
      (pp. 95-126)
      Mark S. Mizruchi and Gerald F. Davis

      The ongoing debates over globalization highlight the inextricable link between political economy, finance, and the management of corporations. From the ongoing protests at meetings of the World Trade Organization (WTO) to governmental interventions in cross-border hostile takeovers in Europe, politics and the governance and management of corporations are intertwined. At the center of this nexus are capital flows and the ways in which they are channeled. The 1990s witnessed an enormous expansion of financial flows around the globe, from trade in currencies to cross-border investments in domestic corporations. Enabled by information technology, upwards of $1.5 trillion flows across borders daily,...

    • 6 CORPORATE GOVERNANCE, LEGITIMACY, AND MODELS OF THE FIRM
      (pp. 127-156)
      William D. Schneper and Mauro F. Guillén

      One of the central tenets of both neo-institutional theory and economic sociology is that economic practices occur with greater frequency if they are legitimate. In this chapter, we provide a comparative study that examines the legitimacy of the hostile takeover, a prominent yet highly contested market activity that is often regarded as serving an important corporate governance function. Drawing heavily on neo-institutional theory, we predict that regulative, cognitive, and normative institutional variables affect the legitimacy of hostile takeovers and hence their likelihood. Using data on thirty-nine countries between 1988 and 1998, we find that hostile takeovers occur more frequently the...

    • 7 GLOBAL MICROSTRUCTURES: THE INTERACTION PRACTICES OF FINANCIAL MARKETS
      (pp. 157-190)
      Karin Knorr Cetina and Urs Bruegger

      In this chapter, we begin to develop an analysis of “global microstructures.” We use the term to mean patterns of relatedness and coordination that are global in scope but microsocial in character and that assemble and link together global domains. We argue that features of the interaction order, loosely defined, have become constitutive of and implanted in processes that have global breadth; it is microsocial structures and relationships that instantiate some of the most globally extended domains we can think of—for example, global financial markets.

      In the last few decades we have witnessed a rise to structural equivalence of...

  8. PART III HOW NETWORKS SHAPE MARKETS

    • 8 OBLIGATION, RISK, AND OPPORTUNITY IN THE RENAISSANCE ECONOMY: BEYOND SOCIAL EMBEDDEDNESS TO NETWORK CO-CONSTITUTION
      (pp. 193-227)
      Paul D. McLean and John F. Padgett

      The New Economic Sociology (Granovetter 1990) has performed salutary work in uncovering the social ligaments underlying interactions and decisionmaking in contemporary markets. In so doing, it has shattered the one-sided image ofhomo oeconomicusand the economistic fallacy that the economic sphere has a life of its own and imperatives that determinately shape all action, including, for example, the choice of business partner or trading alter (Polanyi 1944/1957; Granovetter 1985; cf. Williamson 1994). In key instances, it has elegantly documented the interweaving of economic and social logics in economic practice and in participants’ talk about that practice (see, for example,...

    • 9 THE EFFECTS OF DOMAIN OVERLAP AND NON-OVERLAP ON ORGANIZATIONAL PERFORMANCE, GROWTH, AND SURVIVAL
      (pp. 228-264)
      Heather A. Haveman and Lisa A. Keister

      Over the past twenty years research in organizational theory has increasingly acknowledged that organizations are not independent entities that rely exclusively on their own strategic advantages and competencies. Rather, researchers have come to realize, firms are dependent, like other social actors, on others in their environments, most often other organizations. Studies in four well-established research traditions—organizational ecology, the new institutionalism, social-network analysis, and resource dependence—have demonstrated the value of analyzing both the determinants and outcomes of interfirm interdependence. This research has shown that interorganizational relations can be eithercompetitiveor mutualistic. Competitive relations arise between organizations that draw...

  9. PART IV HOW ECONOMIC IDEAS SHAPE MARKETS

    • 10 COMPETING LOGICS IN HEALTH CARE: PROFESSIONAL, STATE, AND MANAGERIAL
      (pp. 267-287)
      W. Richard Scott

      Observers of health care delivery systems in the United States have been amazed at the extent and rapidity of change during the past two decades. After watching for many years the numbing spectacle of systems displaying “dynamics without change,” in Robert Alford’s (1972) cogent phrase, observers following recent developments and attempting to understand their characteristics, causes, and consequences suddenly have much to ponder.

      For a very long time—well into the first half of the twentieth century—professionals were in a position to determine what patients required and the terms on which they could expect to receive services. While the...

    • 11 TALKING ABOUT PROPERTY IN THE NEW CHINESE DOMESTIC PROPERTY REGIME
      (pp. 288-307)
      Deborah S. Davis

      In January 1998 the most popular legal advice journal in Shanghai published the following exchange between a reader and the editor of the journal’s biweekly advice column:

      The home where I now live with my mother originally was a publicly owned dwelling belonging to my father’s employer and rented by my father. After the implementation of the housing reforms, I put out the cash to buy the home. In October 1996 my father died. My older brother not only did not come to console my mother, but even declared that he had inheritance rights to the home and was prepared...

    • 12 SACRED MARKETS AND SECULAR RITUAL IN THE ORGAN TRANSPLANT INDUSTRY
      (pp. 308-332)
      Kieran Healy

      Since the 1970s, organ transplantation has been transformed from an experimental therapy of last resort into a common medical procedure. A network of organ procurement organizations (OPOs) has grown up to collect and distribute organs in the United States. Along with the government and the medical profession, these organizations have worked in various ways to increase the supply. Demand for human organs has increased sharply since the mid-1980s, and the number of people currently waiting for a transplant exceeds the number of available organs by a factor of more than ten. Because of the increasing structural pressure on the procurement...

  10. Index
    (pp. 333-343)