Embedded Politics: Industrial Networks and Institutional Change in Postcommunism
Gerald A. McDermott2002
Embedded Politics offers a unique framework for analyzing the impact of past industrial networks on the way postcommunist societies build new institutions to govern the restructuring of their economies. Drawing on a detailed analysis of communist Czechoslovakia and contemporary Czech industries and banks, Gerald A. McDermott argues that restructuring is best advanced through the creation of deliberative or participatory forms of governance that encourages public and private actors to share information and take risks. Further, he contends that institutional and organizational changes are intertwined and that experimental processes are shaped by how governments delegate power to local public and private actors and monitor them.
Using comparative case analysis of several manufacturing sectors, Embedded Politics accounts for change and continuity in the formation of new economic governance institutions in the Czech Republic. It analytically links the macropolitics of state policy with the micropolitics of industrial restructuring. Thus the book advances an alternative approach for the comparative study of institutional change and industrial adjustment.
As a historical and contemporary analysis of Czech firms and public institutions, this book will command the attention of students of postcommunist reforms, privatization, and political-economic transitions in general. But also given its interdisciplinary approach and detailed empirical analysis of policy-making and firm behavior, Embedded Politics is a must read for scholars of politics, economics, sociology, political economy, business organization, and public policy.
Gerald A. McDermott is Assistant Professor of Management in The Wharton School of Management at The University of Pennsylvania. His research applies recent advances in comparative political economy and industrial organization, including theories of social networks, historical institutionalism, and incomplete markets to analyze issues of economic governance, firm creation, and industrial restructuring in advanced and newly industrialized countries. As evidenced by Embedded Politics, his current focus is on problems of institutional and organizational learning in the formation of meso-level governance institutions in emerging market and postsocialist economies.
McDermott also works as Senior Research Fellow at the IAE Escuela de Direccion y Negocios at Universidad Austral in Buenos Aires, and he has served as Project Coordinator at the Inter-American Development Bank. He has consulted for the Finance, Private Sector, and Infrastructure Division at the World Bank and advised the Deputy Foreign Minister of the Czech Republic. In addition he has published many papers and book chapters on entrepreneurship, privatization, institutions, and networks in Central Europe and Latin America.