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State and Economy

John L. Campbell

Subject Economics
Sociology » Economic Sociology

Key-Topics state

DOI: 10.1111/b.9781405124331.2007.x


The literature on the relationship between states and economies is vast. This entry focuses exclusively on states and economies in advanced capitalist societies. In this context, sociologists tend to follow Max Weber in viewing nation-states as organizations consisting of administrative, legislative, judicial, and military apparatuses that govern a finite territory, ultimately through the use of force if necessary. They tend to view economies as systems of material production that are organized around market exchange and the pursuit of profit, and that are embedded in a variety of surrounding institutions, including political ones. Research in the area of state and economy has focused on several questions. How does the economy affect the state? How does the state affect the economy? How are state–economy relations organized? How are state–economy relations changing? To address this question, sociologists have often researched why government promulgates the regulatory, macroeconomic, and other business-related policies it does. For example, pluralists argue that a wide variety of economic actors, including representatives from business and labor, but also consumers, environmentalists, and others, struggle to influence the policymaking process. Policymakers tend to respond most favorably to those groups who have the most resources, organizational skills, and access to policymakers. ... log in or subscribe to read full text

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