The committee is delighted to announce that the 2021 Alice Amsden Book Award of the Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics goes to historian Amy Offner for her book Sorting Out the Mixed Economy: The Rise and Fall of Welfare and Developmental States in the Americas (Princeton University Press, 2020).
The committee writes: Through case studies of Colombia and the United States, and through the lens of economic advisors traversing the two countries from the 1930s to the 1980s, this book blurs the boundaries between the global South and North, the developmental and welfare states, and the post-war and neoliberal eras. The "mixed economy" of the title refers to the continuities across these boundaries, as well as to the unintended consequences of policy activism rooted in one model of the state and economy that intersects and merges with a different model in the process of implementation and negotiation on the ground. Substantively, the book assembles evidence pertaining to a wide range of policy domains, from agrarian reform and poverty alleviation to housing development and higher education; it also moves spatially across rural and urban areas in both Colombia and the United States. The book is fluidly and elegantly written as it follows several key Colombian and American economic advisors and policymakers often working in concert with international organizations such as the World Bank and IMF. Although extensively researched and documented in the mode of historical analysis, the book engages with a large interdisciplinary literature on these topics—in economic sociology, political science, and economics—and thus will be of interest to a broad spectrum of SASE scholars.
The committee has also decided to award an Honorable Mention to political scientist Aldo Madariaga for his book Neoliberal Resilience: Lessons in Democracy and Development from Latin America and Eastern Europe (Princeton University Press, 2020).
The committee writes: This ambitious book examines the trajectory of neoliberal policies from inception to a later stage of development in which such policies become institutionalized and potentially resistant to opposition on the part of left movements, nationalized and other protected domestic industries, and the public at large. An analytical framework is proposed in which the resilience of neoliberalism is contingent on three dynamics: (1) blocking oppositional groups from political power, (2) creating and solidifying a coalition of supportive political partners, particularly from the financial and export-oriented business community, and (3) enacting constitutional reforms that insulate neoliberal policy and policymakers from democratic interventions and reforms. Using both quantitative and qualitative data and methods, the book offers an in-depth empirical examination of the impact of these factors on exchange rate and industrial policy in two contrasting country cases in Latin America (Chile and Argentina) and Easter Europe (Estonia and Poland), finding compelling support for the proposed framework. In the final chapter, the book considers the extent to which neoliberalism in Chile and Estonia remains resilient in the context of recent events, such as the rise of ethnonationalist populist movements, in comparison to the countries where neoliberalism is less institutionalized (i.e., Argentina and Poland). Taking up central questions facing countries in many regions of the world today, this impressive book will resonate with scholars throughout the SASE community.