EU443      Half Unit
European Models of Capitalism

This information is for the 2023/24 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Robert Hancke CBG.6.02


This course is available on the MSc in China in Comparative Perspective, MSc in Human Resources and Organisations (International Employment Relations/CIPD), MSc in Political Economy of Europe, MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Fudan) , MSc in Political Economy of Europe (LSE and Sciences Po), MSc in Political Science (Global Politics), MSc in Public Administration and Government (LSE and Peking University) and MSc in Public Policy and Administration. This course is available with permission as an outside option to students on other programmes where regulations permit.

This course has a limited number of places (it is controlled access) and demand is typically very high. Priority is given to students from the European Institute, so students from outside this programme may not get a place.

Course content

The course deals with the question of the adjustment of the European economies to changing global circumstances since the second oil shock, the period of relative calm until the financial crisis, and the perma-crisis period since 2010. It consists of two parts. The first part will discuss the basic methodological considerations of comparative capitalism studies and their use in analysing the structure and dynamics of the main European models of capitalism. We will then use comparative perspectives on capitalism to discuss current political-economic problems: the financial, economic and EMU crises, the green transition, the digital transition, industrial policy, Covid-19, and other contemporary themes, including those proposed by students early on in the course. 


This course will be delivered through a single introductory lecture in week 1 followed by combined lecture/seminars totalling a minimum of 21 hours during Autumn Term. This course includes a reading week in Week 6 of Autumn Term.

Formative coursework

Students will write short 500-word essays in weeks 2-8 on a key concept or question as part of a small group. Students will also develop their summative essay plan with the teacher late in Autumn term and early in Winter term.

Indicative reading

  • Peter A Hall & David Soskice (Eds), Varieties of Capitalism: The Institutional Foundations of Competitiveness. Oxford University Press, 2001;
  • Hancké, Bob, Martin Rhodes and Mark Thatcher (eds.) 2007. Beyond Varieties of Capitalism: Conflict, contradiction and complementarities in the European Economy. (Oxford UP 2007) (henceforth HRT);
  • Crouch, Colin, Capitalist Diversity and Change, Oxford University Press, 2005;
  • Hancké, Bob (ed.), 2009, Debating Varieties of Capitalism: A Reader, Oxford UP.
  • Wolfgang Streeck, (2011) E Pluribus Unum? Varieties and Commonalities of Capitalism, MPifG Discussion Paper No. 10/12;
  • Natasha van der Zwan (2014) Making sense of financialization, Socio Economic Review, 12: 99-129;
  • Kathleen Thelen, (2014) Varieties of Liberalization and the New Politics of Social Solidarity, Cambridge University Press;
  • Colin Hay, Does Capitalism Still Come in Varieties? Review of International Political Economy, Volume 27, 2020. Benjamin Braun, Asset Management Capitalism as Corporate Governance Regime, pre-print, available online 2021


Essay (100%, 3300 words) in the WT.

Essay questions will be distributed in late Autumn Term, and discussed in the final week of AT. Essay outlines and other relevant questions will be developed with the course convener or seminar teacher. 

Key facts

Department: European Institute

Total students 2022/23: 28

Average class size 2022/23: 14

Controlled access 2022/23: Yes

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Communication