The American Political Economy
Institutional Evolution of Market and State
Routledge – 2011 – 244 pages
Policy debates are often grounded within the conceptual confines of a state-market dichotomy, as though the two existed in complete isolation. In this innovative text, Marc Allen Eisner portrays the state and the market as inextricably linked, exploring the variety of institutions subsumed by the market and the role that the state plays in creating the institutional foundations of economic activity.
Through a historical approach, Eisner situates the study of American political economy within a larger evolutionary-institutional framework that integrates perspectives in American political development and economic sociology. This volume provides a rich understanding of the complexity of U.S. economic policy, explaining how public policies become embedded in bureaucracy and reinforced by organized beneficiaries and public expectations. This path dependent layering process helps students better understand the underlying historical dynamics, which provide a clearer sense of the constraints faced by policymakers now and in the future. Thorough coverage of the entitlement crisis, globalization’s impact on the U.S. political economy, and the recent financial crisis in the final chapters demonstrate the importance of this historical institutionalist framework.
"There has long been a need for a readable introductory survey and synthesis of recent scholarship on the evolution of U.S. economic policy-making at the federal level over the last century or so. Dr. Eisner has now provided us with one that is both historically concrete and well-aware of the most important methodological controversies in the literature."
—Paul M. Johnson, Auburn University
"This timely book is a concise, clear, balanced, and thoughtful analysis of the nation’s momentous economic problems and their origins. Eisner expertly synthesizes the intertwined growth of government and economic institutions over the past century, and shows that this history is indispensable for understanding today’s American dilemmas of social welfare, globalization, the financial crisis, and the recession. The American Political Economy provides an essential foundation for coming to grips with contemporary American politics and policy."
—David Robertson, University of Missouri
"Conventional approaches to the study of public policy tell us that there are states and there are markets and never the twain shall meet. Marc Allen Eisner persuasively demonstrates not only that they have met but that they are joined cheek to jowl."
—Richard Bensel, Cornell University
Part I: Making Sense of the Political Economy 1. Beyond the Market-State Dichotomy 2. Making Sense of Institutions and Institutional Change Part II: The Evolution of the American Political Economy 3. The Progressive Regime and the Regulatory State 4. The Rise of the New Deal Regime 5. The Postwar Consolidation of the New Deal Regime 6. The Rise and Pause of the Keynesian Welfare State 7. The Neoliberal Regime and the Return of the Market Part III: Neoliberalism and Its Discontents 8. The Two Welfare States and the Coming Entitlement Crisis 9. The Global Economy and the Persistence of the State 10. The Financial Crisis and the Great Recession 11. Continuity and Change in the American Political Economy
Marc Allen Eisner is Henry Merritt Writson Chair of Public Policy and professor of government at Wesleyan University. He is the author or co-author of several books on public policy and American political economy.