Chapter 1 introduces the puzzle and research agenda, reviews relevant literature, summarizes the argument, and reflects on the methodology used. Since the early 1980s, governments worldwide have taken a wide range of policy measures to strengthen and expand competition. The financial crisis that erupted in 2008 has not led to a major reversal. This prolonged phase of market liberalization runs counter to influential scholarly predictions that the role of markets would decline. Most doomsayers of marketization ignored mid-range political sources of capitalist dynamism, including endogenous policy feedback. Others focused too narrowly on the political representatives of market contestants, and on the collective action problems that afflict challengers more than incumbents. Process tracing techniques, mechanism-oriented research, and a stronger focus on the rejoicing profiteers can contribute to establishing whether and why market-restraining rules are more prone to undermining their own political support bases than market-enabling rules are.
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