The End of Variety? Corporate Governance Regulation between Market and Multilevel Governance
DFG-Projekt LU-867-1/2 (2005-2008)
Since the 1990s, research of institutionalist approaches of comparative political economy engages in the question of convergence or divergence of national variations of capitalism. This research project deals with this problem using the example of Corporate Governance, which can be defined as the internal and external system by which companies are directed and controlled. Following the propositions of the institutionally oriented „Varieties of Capitalism“ school of thought we should expect on the one hand, that corporate governance, as a core element of the institutional system of national market economies, is highly resistant to change. On the other hand however, the scope to uphold national capitalistic variations is very limited. Globalisation and liberalisation of financial and product markets, the efforts to harmonize the legal framework requirements within the European internal market, as well as changed strategies of companies and institutional investors, such as pension- and investment funds, put pressure on national economies to align their institutional systems. Does this market integration lead to convergence, divergence or new hybrid forms in the structure of national corporate governance regimes? What factors drive or constrain this transformation process? These questions are addressed in a comparative study of the changes in the national corporate governance regimes of the US and EU, in particular Great Britain and Germany. Thereby, particular attention is paid to the driving forces of transformation, and the interaction of national and transnational as well as public and private actors in the transfer of standards.