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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Recent Work

The Center for Culture, Organizations and Politics is affiliated with the Institute for Research on Labor and Employment. The Center sponsors research about how social arrangements evolve to organize new social spaces. The area of inquiry has been labelled "new institutional theories." Culture, Organizations, and Politics are viewed as the three main categories to push these theoretical and empirical discussions forward. The Center provides funds for graduate student research, sponsors conferences, and supports an ongoing seminar where work in progress is presented and discussed.

Neil Fligstein, Director
University of California, Berkeley
Center for Culture, Organizations and Politics
Institute for Research on Labor and Employment
2521 Channing Way, #5555
Berkeley, CA 94720-5555

Cover page of The Institutionalization of European Administrative Space

The Institutionalization of European Administrative Space


Not so very long ago it was impossible to interest students of comparative politics in law and courts which they thought had little or nothing to do with the politics of the nations they studied. Simple propositions that were truisms among law and courts specialists, such as that litigation was an alternative form of interest group lobbying, were foreign to comparativists who largely stuck to the standard layman's view that courts are or ought to be "independent" and "neutral" that is separated from politics and policy making. Americanists, of course, knew better, but that generally was attributed to the peculiar place of the U.S. Supreme Court's power of constitutional judicial review in American politics. Three changes in the real world have now begun to persuade comparativists of the political functions of law and courts. One is the spread of successful constitutional judicial review to a large number of Western European states. If judges declaring laws unconstitutional is political in the U. S. it probably is in France, Germany, Italy and Spain too. The second is the political evolution - or lack of it - in the former Soviet Union and its former satellites. It has become far too evident that success or failure in building a working court system and rule of law is a crucial element in national political and economic development. The third new political phenomenon is the European Union. As American specialists in comparative politics began to study the E. U., it became difficult for them to ignore the crucial role of the European Court of Justice in its development and the degree to which the E. U. itself was a structure of laws which owed its existence and evolution to innovations in law. Moreover, as these three great changes were taking place, the Gods of Behaviorism were marching along to the discovery of the "new institutionalism" in which formal rules were again seen as politically significant.

Cover page of Estimating a Mixed Strategy: United and American Airlines

Estimating a Mixed Strategy: United and American Airlines


We develop a generalized maximum entropy estimator that can estimate pure and mixed strategies subject to restrictions from game theory. This method avoids distributional assumptions and is consistent and efficient. We demonstrate this method by estimating the mixed strategies of duopolistic airlines.

Cover page of The Transmission and Persistence of`'Urban Legends': Sociological Application of Age-Structured Epidemic Models

The Transmission and Persistence of`'Urban Legends': Sociological Application of Age-Structured Epidemic Models


This paper describes two related epidemic models of rumor transmission in an age-structured population. Rumors share with communicable disease certain basic aspects, which means that formal models of epidemics may be applied to the transmission of rumors. The results show that rumors may become entrenched very quickly and persist for a long time, even when skeptics are modeled to take an active role in trying to convince others that the rumor is false. This is a macrophenomeon, because individuals eventually cease to believe the rumor, but are replaced by new recruits. This replacement of former believers by new ones is an aspect of all the models, but the approach to stability is quicker, and involves smaller chance of extinction, in the model where skeptics actively try to counter the rumor, as opposed to the model where interest is naturally lost by believers. Skeptics hurt their own cause. The result shows that including age, or a variable for which age is a proxy (e.g. experience), can improve model _delity and yield important insights.

Cover page of Social Skill and the Theory of Fields

Social Skill and the Theory of Fields


The problem of the relationship between actors and the social structures in which they are embedded is central to sociological theory. This paper suggests that the "new institutionalist" focus on fields, domains, or games provides an alternative view of how to think about this problem by focusing on the construction of local orders. This paper criticizes the conception of actors in both rational choice and sociological versions of these theories. A more sociological view of action, what is called "social skill", is developed. The idea of social skill originates in symbolic interactionism and is defined as the ability to induce cooperation in other. This idea is elaborated to suggest how actors are important to the construction and reproduction of local orders. I show how its elements already inform existing work. Finally, I show how the idea can sensitize scholars to the role of actors in empirical work.

Cover page of Globalization or Europeanization:  Evidence on the European Economy Since 1980

Globalization or Europeanization: Evidence on the European Economy Since 1980


At the core of the European Union, has been the gradual creation of the "single market" across western Europe. The European Union began as the European Coal and Steel Community (ECSC) and expanded to become the European Economic Community (EEC). The original intent of the ECSC was to stabilize the production of steel across Europe in order to prevent ruinous competition. The EEC formed to expand the activities of the alliance to cooperation in agricultural policies and various industrial policies. The Treaty of Rome which produced the EEC, had the goal of reducing tariffs and other trade barriers, thereby promoting free trade and economic growth. Both Schumann and Monet, the principal intellectual architects of the EEC felt that if the European societies had economies that were more integrated, governments would be less tempted to engage in military activities that would end up in war.

Cover page of States and Markets in an Era of Globalization

States and Markets in an Era of Globalization


Globalization is transforming the relationship between states and markets. Even as some authors predict the demise of the state in the face of increasingly global markets, others focus on the role states play in constructing markets themselves and making sustainable market interactions possible. As the times change so do our theories, generating new concepts which can be used to better understand the previous period. This paper undertakes such a project. I argue that state, market and society are embedded in each other and constructed by their interactions with one another . The paper briefly reviews world-systems and comparative political economy analyses of the relation between states and markets. This review provides the framework for a discussion of the variety of models of state-market interaction in the postwar 'Golden Age' of capitalism. Finally I review the challenges which globalization poses to these models and consider contemporary experiments with state-market relations in a transformed international order.

Cover page of The Institutionalization of Sex Equality for Europe:  Women Activists and the European Court

The Institutionalization of Sex Equality for Europe: Women Activists and the European Court


In the last forty years, we have witnessed the evolution of an unprecedented form of supranational governance in western Europe. The European Court of Justice (ECJ) has played a powerful integrative force in this transformation. This chapter examines how the ECJ has operated to expand the integration project and has done so by serving as a forum for political action by national and transnational social movements. This analysis studies this integrative dynamic through the evolution of sex equality policy in the European Union (EU). The purpose of this chapter is two fold. First, I will examine the Court's expansive development of this EU policy sector through its case law. In particular, I will evaluate whether the policy preferences of national governments have significantly impacted the Court's judicial decisions. Second, I will examine the relationship between the Court and private litigants and women's groups and how this leads to the construction of EU policy through litigation. Specifically, I am interested in tracing the dynamic which has led to the institutionalization of sex equality norms at the European level. The larger purpose of the analysis is to offer systematic evidence of how activists (both national and transnational) are utilizing European space (as provided by EU institutions) and are doing so to bring about significant national policy changes. Furthermore, this project provides empirical evidence of how EU institutions engage in a mutually empowering relationship with activists. This dynamic interaction leads not only to the expansion of EU competence, but also illustrates how both EU institutions and rules have been used in unintended ways.