Economy and State
Economy and State
Should governments be involved in economic affairs? Challenging prevailing wisdom about the benefits of self-regulating markets, Nina Bandelj and Elizabeth Sowers offer a uniquely sociological perspective to emphasize that states can never be divorced from economy. From defining property rights and regulating commodification of labor to setting corporate governance standards and international exchange rules, the state continuously manages the functioning of markets and influences economic outcomes for individuals, firms and nations.

The authors bring together classical interventions and cutting-edge contemporary research in economic sociology to discuss six broad areas of economy/state connection: property, money, labor, firms, national economic growth, and global economic exchange. A wealth of empirical examples and illustrations reveals that even if the nature of state influence on economy varies across contexts, it is always dependent on social forces.

This accessible and engaging book will be essential reading for upper-level students of economic sociology, and those interested in the major economic dilemmas of our times.

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  • September 2010
  • 200 pages
  • 155 x 217 mm / 6 x 9 in
Available Formats
  • Hardback $67.50
  • 9780745644547
  • Paperback $28.00
  • 9780745644554
  • Open eBook $22.00
  • 9780745658834
Table of Contents

Detailed contents vi

List of Illustrations ix

1 Introduction 1

2 Property: The State's Role in Capitalist and Socialist Economies 26

3 Money: The State's Role in Monetary Policy, Government Spending, and Taxation 56

4 Labor: The State's Role in Redistribution and Employment 84

5 Firms: The State's Role in Business and Industry Governance 110

6 Development: The State’s Role in Advancing Economic Prosperity 137

7 International and Global Economy: The State's Role in Managing the Territorial Boundaries of Economic Transactions 164

8 Conclusion 192

Glossary 204

References 211

Index 233

About the Author
Nina Bandelj is Associate Professor of Sociology at the University of California, Irvine
Elizabeth Sowers is a Doctoral Student at the University of California, Irvine


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"Economy and State offers a wonderful introduction to the burgeoning fields of economic and political sociology, and in particular to work at the dynamic intersection of those fields. Why do labor markets, financial markets, and stock markets take on different forms at different points in time, and in different countries? What public policies and regulations are essential to the operation of these markets across settings? Bandelj and Sowers' sweeping overview shows how governments structure all aspects of the economy, large and small. Everyone interested in understanding economic behavior should read this book."
Frank Dobbin, Harvard University

"This smart, accessible book surveys a vast and complex terrain with clarity and insight. From the workings of monetary and fiscal policies to debates regarding the welfare state, from the origins of neoliberalism to consideration of the determinants of economic development, among many other topics, Bandelj and Sowers offer a lucid overview of key issues pertaining to the state's role in constituting the economy in contemporary society. With clear explanations, broad coverage, and a comparative emphasis, this book will provide an extraordinary resource for teaching."
Greta Krippner, University of Michigan

"In a world where too many people really believe there is an invisible hand coordinating economic activity, this book will come as an accessible and concise discussion of the many ways in which states are involved in the distribution and exchange of economic goods. Bandelj and Sowers have written a welcome review of the relationships that different state forms have with economic orders."
Nicole Biggart, University of California

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