The Dynamics of Capture and Inequality in a Market Society

Geoffrey R.D. Underhill
Session Organizer:
Geoffrey R.D. Underhill
Sunday, June 26, 2016: 9:00 AM-10:30 AM
228 Dwinelle (Dwinelle Hall)
Scholars have long focused on the functioning of markets their governance. The breakdown of financial market governance that was at least partially responsible for the crisis has perhaps made the question more urgent. Post-crisis analysis has led to the posing of critical questions across societies concerning the social outcomes generated by open economies, about the power and role of the private sector in the design and implementation of public policy, and of the underlying normative purpose of economic governance in advanced democracies. This has opened up new debate of rising economic inequalities and the latent risks of regulatory capture.

 We all know of the importance of institutions and patterns of market governance to economic and social outcomes. The political economy literature proposes a number of hypotheses as to how cross-national variation in institutions affects the process and relative levels of economic development. However, we have no theory as to how or why ‘private’ and ‘public’ institutions of governance emerge from patterns of market exchange in the first place, and why they vary over time and within countries in the way they do. This invites theoretical enquiry as well as further empirical study as to why private interests are so difficult to disentangle from our institutions of governance under conditions of economic openness. This session will explore this theoretical and empirical terrain where contrasting patterns of market exchange, institutions, and factor constituencies all intersect with those of the ‘public purpose’ in open economy democracies. In this sense the session investigates the dynamics of capture and inequality in relation to contemporary markets, firms, and institutions.

Markets, Institutions, and Transaction Costs: The Endogeneity of Governance
Geoffrey R.D. Underhill, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam
Exporting Labour Abuse out of Recession? How Economic Cycles in the Global North Affect Labour Conditions in the Global South
Sijeong Lim, Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research, University of Amsterdam; Asseem Prakash, University of Washington