Wednesday, 27 February 2013

UK cultural exceptionalism, Brexit and network analysis - continued

The previous post presented a basic network picture displaying cultural similarities between 21 EU countries plus four Anglo-Saxon non-EU countries [click picture for full view]. Comments:
  • The most similar country pairs have shaped the network. These were Ireland-UK, New Zealand-UK, Spain-Germany, Austria-Germany, Denmark-Austria, Ireland-Canada, Poland-Bulgaria, Spain-Austria, Spain-Finland, Austria-Sweden, Canada-NetherlandsNew Zealand-Netherlands. Most of these pair are somehow plausible (eg Ireland-UK, Austria-Germany) but not all of them (eg Spain-Finland?)
  • More specifically, I was interested in whether the UK is more similar to fellow Anglo-Saxon or fellow EU countries. The top 7 countries most similar to the UK are: (1) New Zealand, (2) Ireland, (3) US, (4) Canada, (5) Netherlands, (6) Australia, (7) Greece. This speaks for the first view – and actually the mean UK difference from the other Anglo-Saxon vs. the other EU countries is also significant.
  • I also calculated which countries are closest to the four Anglo-Saxon countries: (1) Ireland, (2) UK, (3) Netherlands – so far so predictable. BUT also which EU countries are most different from the other EU countries: (1) Bulgaria, (2) France, (3) Cyprus … (7) UK – so as a result the UK seems to be a fairly mainstream EU country; the only specific thing is that, in addition, it is also fairly similar to the Anglo-Saxon countries!
  • Finally, just to say: I used the Schwartz culture data (see previous post), but there would be other, more recent and comprehensive, datasets if one wanted to do more than a blog post. Also, what I really would like to do would be to use various indicators and codings (including law-related ones, see my paper here) in order to come to a firmer conclusion on “UK exceptionalism” - but I may also leave this to others.

Friday, 22 February 2013

UK cultural exceptionalism, 'Brexit' and network analysis

In the discussion about a possible British exit from the EU it is sometimes said that the UK is just culturally very different from the rest of Europe. I don’t tend to believe in this argument – based on my anecdotal experience from having lived in a couple of European countries. But as a social scientist, that doesn’t count: we need proper empirical evidence. I took data on cultural values as developed by Shalom Schwartz for 21 EU countries plus four Anglo-Saxon non-EU countries (US, Canada, Australia, New Zealand) [data from here, Appendix Table A.3] and calculated the difference for each of the 7 ‘Schwartz categories’ for each of the country pairs, and then added these differences together. This gives us information on how different each country is from each of the other 24 countries. A nice thing to do with it is to present it as a network picture:
To explain, the strongest connections (ie most similar countries) are connected; if countries are very similar, this has been done with a bold link. Moreover, I applied ‘Multi-Dimensional Scaling’, ie countries that are close according to the Schwartz data have been shifted close together by the network analysis program.
What does it show? Well, the UK is in a corner of the Anglo-Saxon countries, different from most of the rest of Europe. Also, it’s interesting to see that the Eastern European countries are a bit separate from Western European ones.
More data and analysis will follow in the subsequent posts …

Thursday, 14 February 2013

Conference on Networked Governance & Paper on OECD Principles of Corporate Governance

I just return from a great conference at Kyushu University, Japan, on Networked Governance, Transnational Business and the Law. The abstracts of the papers are available on the website; the final and full papers will be published in a book in the next year or so. My paper was on ‘The OECD Principles of Corporate Governance in Emerging Markets: A Successful Example of Networked Governance?’ (co-authored with Oscar Alvarez-Macotela), the working paper is available on SSRN.

Tuesday, 5 February 2013

Comparative Company Law – our new book!

Now published: see Amazon and Hart Publishing (with toc)   
Edited by David Cabrelli and myself (UK and Germany) – and many thanks to our co-authors: Marco Ventoruzzo and Corrado Malberti (Italy), Lena Nordman (Finland), Pablo Igesias Rodriguez (Spain), Hiroyuki Watanabe and Hisaei Chuck Ito (Japan), Kamil Szmid and Michal Zurek (Poland), Gordon Smith (US), Pierre-Henri Conac (France), Theis Klauberg (Latvia).