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Revisiting the Party Paradox of Finance Capitalism: Evidence from Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands


  • Gerhard Schnyder


The 'party paradox' thesis claims that centre-left parties have a genuine interest in pro-shareholder corporate governance reforms, while centre-right parties oppose such reforms. Based on case studies of Switzerland, Sweden, and the Netherlands, I test the accuracy of this thesis and find that it does not apply to either of these cases: in Switzerland pro-shareholder reforms were made possible by centre-right not centre-left support; In Sweden and the Netherlands pro-shareholder reforms were marginal, because a broad coalition uniting centre-right and centre-left opposed them. My findings show therefore that the 'party paradox' is not a universal phenomenon and that most micro-level explanations of this phenomenon are inaccurate. In order to explain in which cases a party paradox will emerge, we need to add the nature of relations between employees and employers (cooperative vs. confrontational) as a determinant of centre-left preferences.

Suggested Citation

  • Gerhard Schnyder, 2008. "Revisiting the Party Paradox of Finance Capitalism: Evidence from Switzerland, Sweden and the Netherlands," Working Papers wp372, Centre for Business Research, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cbr:cbrwps:wp372
    Note: PRO-2

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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Henk De Jong, 1997. "The Governance Structure and Performance of Large European Corporations," Journal of Management & Governance, Springer;Accademia Italiana di Economia Aziendale (AIDEA), vol. 1(1), pages 5-27, March.
    2. Peter Hogfeldt, 2005. "The History and Politics of Corporate Ownership in Sweden," NBER Chapters,in: A History of Corporate Governance around the World: Family Business Groups to Professional Managers, pages 517-580 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
    3. Jensen, Michael C. & Meckling, William H., 1976. "Theory of the firm: Managerial behavior, agency costs and ownership structure," Journal of Financial Economics, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 305-360, October.
    4. Dirk Akkermans & Hans van Ees & Niels Hermes & Reggy Hooghiemstra & Gerwin Van der Laan & Theo Postma & Arjen van Witteloostuijn, 2007. "Corporate Governance in the Netherlands: an overview of the application of the Tabaksblat Code in 2004," Corporate Governance: An International Review, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 15(6), pages 1106-1118, November.
    5. repec:hrv:faseco:30747162 is not listed on IDEAS
    6. Marco Pagano & Paolo F. Volpin, 2005. "The Political Economy of Corporate Governance," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(4), pages 1005-1030, September.
    7. Rafael La Porta & Florencio Lopez-De-Silanes & Andrei Shleifer, 1999. "Corporate Ownership Around the World," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 54(2), pages 471-517, April.
    8. Sven-Olof Collin, 1998. "Why are these Islands of Conscious Power Found in the Ocean of Ownership? Institutional and Governance Hypotheses Explaining the Existence of Business Groups in Sweden," Journal of Management Studies, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 35(6), pages 719-746, November.
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    More about this item


    Corporate governance; legal reform; Switzerland; Sweden; the Netherlands;

    JEL classification:

    • P52 - Economic Systems - - Comparative Economic Systems - - - Comparative Studies of Particular Economies
    • K22 - Law and Economics - - Regulation and Business Law - - - Business and Securities Law

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