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Financialization and Inequality in Coordinated and Liberal Market Economies

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  • Evelyne Huber

    ()

  • Bilyana Petrova
  • John D. Stephens

    ()

Abstract

The last three decades have witnessed rising inequality and deepening financialization (however defined) in post-industrial democracies. A rapidly growing body of literature has linked the two phenomena (see e.g. Dünhaupt 2014, Godechot 2016, Flaherty 2015, Roberts and Kwon 2017). Contrary to existing scholarship, which has largely neglected the mediating effect of institutions, we argue that contextual differences play a crucial role in shaping the relationship between financialization and inequality. Drawing on the Varieties of Capitalism literature, we posit that a larger financial sector is associated with a more unequal distribution of income in liberal market economies, where the industry develops substantial autonomy from other actors. In contrast, the stronger position of labor in coordinated market economies is able to counteract the inequality-enhancing effects of financialization. We test these hypotheses with data on 18 and 21 post-industrial democracies between 1960 and 2013. Our analysis is largely consistent with our expectations.

Suggested Citation

  • Evelyne Huber & Bilyana Petrova & John D. Stephens, 2018. "Financialization and Inequality in Coordinated and Liberal Market Economies," LIS Working papers 750, LIS Cross-National Data Center in Luxembourg.
  • Handle: RePEc:lis:liswps:750
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Jon Bakija & Adam Cole & Bradley Heim, 2008. "Jobs and Income Growth of Top Earners and the Causes of Changing Income Inequality: Evidence from U.S. Tax Return Data," Department of Economics Working Papers 2010-22, Department of Economics, Williams College, revised Jan 2012.
    2. Cihak, Martin & Demirguc-Kunt, Asli & Feyen, Erik & Levine, Ross, 2012. "Benchmarking financial systems around the world," Policy Research Working Paper Series 6175, The World Bank.
    3. repec:cup:apsrev:v:89:y:1995:i:03:p:634-647_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Godechot, Olivier, 2015. "Financialization is marketization! A study on the respective impact of various dimensions of financialization on the increase in global inequality," MaxPo Discussion Paper Series 15/3, Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (MaxPo).
    5. Roine, Jesper & Vlachos, Jonas & Waldenström, Daniel, 2009. "The long-run determinants of inequality: What can we learn from top income data?," Journal of Public Economics, Elsevier, vol. 93(7-8), pages 974-988, August.
    6. Thorsten Beck & Asli Demirgüç-Kunt & Ross Levine, 2010. "Financial Institutions and Markets across Countries and over Time: The Updated Financial Development and Structure Database," World Bank Economic Review, World Bank Group, vol. 24(1), pages 77-92, January.
    7. Emmanuel Saez & Michael R. Veall, 2005. "The Evolution of High Incomes in Northern America: Lessons from Canadian Evidence," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 95(3), pages 831-849, June.
    8. Robin Greenwood & David Scharfstein, 2013. "The Growth of Finance," Journal of Economic Perspectives, American Economic Association, vol. 27(2), pages 3-28, Spring.
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