With growing doubts about the universality of Western institutional models, there is now more attention paid to the analysis of models that are developing beyond the “western world”. This paper is devoted to a comparative analysis of countries with either predominant Western or non-Western institutional models of the economy. An overview of studies in political economy, as well as the main more modern institutional theories about similar subjects, are presented. The paper focuses mainly on the approach developed in the author’s theory of X- and Y-institutional matrices (Kirdina, 2014 [2001; 2000]; Kirdina-Chandler, 2017). In this theory, Western institutional models are characterised by the predominance of a set of Y-matrix institutions, among them the institutions of a market economy, federal political structure, and individualistic ideology. Non-Western models are distinguished by the dominance of a set of X-matrix institutions, among them the institutions of a redistributive economy, unitary-centralised political structure, and communitarian ideology. The X-and-Y-institutional matrices theory was used as the methodological basis for two research projects carried out in 2014–2017, the results of which are presented in the paper. The first project was devoted to analysing the influence of geographic/climatic factors on the development of institutional models. A reliable statistical relationship between the extremes of geographic/climatic factors and the predominant institutional model – the western (less extreme) and the non-western (more extreme) – is identified and logically justified. The second project was to study the long-term dynamics (since 1820) of the coexistence of countries with Western and non-Western models. A cyclical process of changing world economic leadership, expressed in the share of GDP produced by each group of countries in the world GDP, was revealed. Prior to the spread of the industrial revolution, countries with non-Western institutional models dominated in the world GDP. Since the 1870’s the domination of Y-countries started, which began to produce more than half of the world GDP. The biggest gap between these two groups of countries was observed in 1950–1970 but following this period it began to decline. Since 2008/2010 X-countries began outperforming Y-countries by share of world GDP, and this advantage is gradually increasing. It is hypothesised that a change of dominance in the global economic configuration and the search for new coalitions are some of the main factors for the increase in radical sentiment in the world and international tension.