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Synopsis

During the last two decades, virtually all developing countries shifted from state-led to market-oriented, neoliberal economic policies. Moving beyond the well-studied questions of why countries choose neoliberal policies and how they implement them, this book analyzes fresh evidence from Mexico that shows that neoliberal reforms, rather than unleashing market forces, actually result in new regulatory institutions at the subnational level. To account for this finding, which cuts against mainstream economic theory, Richard Snyder proposes an analytic framework that explains how neoliberal reforms trigger two-step 'reregulation' processes. First, political entrepreneurs launch projects to build support coalitions by reregulating market, and second, societal groups respond to these projects by mobilizing to influence the terms of reregulation. Depending on the strengths and strategies of politicians and societal groups, reregulation results in different kinds of institutions for market governance with contrasting consequences for economic efficiency and social justice. By shifting the focus to the new institutions that have emerged, the analysis challenges the widely held view that these reforms have set countries on a convergent path toward laissez-faire markets.

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