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Journal Article

Diversified Quality Production Revisited: Its Contribution to German Socio-Economic Performance over Time


Streeck,  Wolfgang
Institutioneller Wandel im gegenwärtigen Kapitalismus, MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Sorge, A., & Streeck, W. (2018). Diversified Quality Production Revisited: Its Contribution to German Socio-Economic Performance over Time. Socio-Economic Review, 16(3), 587-612. doi:10.1093/ser/mwy022.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/21.11116/0000-0001-EE65-2
We revisit the concept of Diversified Quality Production (DQP), which we introduced about 30 years ago. Our purpose is to examine the extent to which the concept can still be considered tenable for describing and explaining the development of the interaction between the political economy and concepts of production, notably in Germany. First, we show why and in which ways DQP was more heterogeneous than we had originally understood. Then, on the basis of evidence with respect to political, business, and economic changes in Germany, we show that DQP Mark I, a regime by and large characteristic of the 1980s, turned into DQP Mark II. In the process, major ‘complementarities’ disappeared between the late 1980s and now—mainly the complementarity between production modes on the one hand and industrial relations and economic regulation on the other. While the latter exhibit greater change, business strategies and production organization show more continuity, which helps explain how Germany maintained economic performance after the mid-2000s, more than other countries in Europe. Conceptually, our most important result is that the complementarities emphasized in political economy are historically relative and limited, so that they should not be postulated as stable configurations.