Following a period of almost obsessive academic attention in the 1980s, in the early 1990s the concept of corporatism fell from favor, as its explanatory powers appeared to wane and the Keynesian welfare systems under which it had flourished apparently fell into decline. In the late 1990s, a new interest in corporatism emerged, in line with new patterns of concertation and corporatist behavior in some unexpected places—countries in which the institutional basis for collaborative, bargained methods of policy making and conflict resolution seemed distinctly unpromising. We review the extensive literature on corporatism since the 1970s and consider its applicability in the contemporary period. We argue that an excessively structural-functionalist interpretation of corporatism led many wrongly to predict its demise as a form of policy making, and that an understanding of its persistence and new manifestations today must resurrect and strengthen some early, recently neglected insights into processes of political exchange.


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  • Article Type: Review Article
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