Some Methodological Problems of Contemporary Economic Comparative Studies

DOI: 10.20542/0131-2227-2014-10-18-27

N. Toganova, Institute of Economy and International Relations, Russian Academy of Sciences, 23 Profsoyuznaya Str., Moscow, 117997, Russian Federation (

Abstract.      The author analyses the methodology of comparative studies used by the English and German speaking specialists in the 1950-1980th. With the collapse of the Communists block it seemed that such studies could become outdated because, as some scholars reasoned, economic systems started to lose their peculiarities and to drift in the same direction. Two decades after it can be stated that this didn’t really happen. Comparative studies still have the reasons to be continued. 
     At the same time, there still remain questions concerning their methodology. That is why a review of the methodology approaches is of prime interest of the article. The author starts from consideration of the question of the interaction between comparative studies and economic theory. This analysis is vital not only for the whole research field. It also helps to better understand the difference in Anglo-Saxon and German research approaches to comparative studies.
     The scholars from USA and Great Britain never paid special attention to this topic. On the contrary, some prominent German researchers attempted to produce a working theory of international comparisons. 
     Further, the author reviews the evolution of the main approaches. The following phases are found: the conceptualization of theoretical approaches how different economic systems were set and how they could be compared; inter-comparison of existing and ideal systems drawn by the theorists; development of the institutional approach and the growing popularity of comparisons through quantitative indicators and later through institutions (rankings and top lists of countries). 
     The final part of the article provides a detailed analysis of German approach to the comparisons of economic systems.

Keywords: comparative studies, economic systems, economic theory, ordoliberalism, Germany

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For citation:
Toganova N. Some Methodological Problems of Contemporary Economic Comparative Studies. World Eonomy and International Relations, 2014, no. 10, pp. 18-27.

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