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Financialization and the Global Economy

  • Engelbert Stockhammer

In this chapter from the forthcoming book, The Political Economy of Financial Crises, edited by Gerald Epstein and Martin H. Wolfson, (Oxford University Press, 2012) Engelbert Stockhammer�discusses ‘financialization’, i.e. changes in the role of the financial sector. This will highlight (1) changes in household behavior, in particular with regards to household debt, (2) changes in the behaviour of non-financial businesses, such as shareholder value orientation and increased financial activity and (3) changes in the financial sector, in particular the emergence of the (hardly regulated) shadow banking sector, a shift towards household credit (rather than business credit) and a shift to investment banking/fee generating business. Second, the chapter discusses the international dimension of financialization. Here the liberalization of capital flows and its consequences, the determination of exchange rates by capital flows (rather than by current account disequilibria), will be discussed. International financial liberalization has not fulfilled the neoliberal promise of generating investment-based growth, but rather has given rise to a series of financial crises that were typically driven by a swing of capital inflows (‘capital flow bonanza’) followed by capital flow reversals. Third, the chapter offers an interpretation of the finance-dominated accumulation regime as having given rise to two distinct growth models (based on Stockhammer 2010): a credit-financed consumption-driven growth model (mostly in Anglo-Saxon countries) and a export-driven growth model (in Germany, Japan, and, possibly, China). Both growth models suffer from a structural demand deficiency, which is due to wage suppression, but each try to overcome this by different means (credit-financed consumption or export orientation). The chapter thus highlights how financialization with its domestic and international effects have interacted with a polarization of income distribution to generate the structural imbalances that led to the crisis 2007-09.

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Paper provided by Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst in its series Working Papers with number wp240.

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Date of creation: 2010
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Handle: RePEc:uma:periwp:wp240
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  1. Arjun Jayadev, 2007. "Capital account openness and the labour share of income," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 31(3), pages 423-443, May.
  2. Till van Treeck, 2008. "The political economy debate on ‘financialisation’ – a macroeconomic perspective," IMK Working Paper 01-2008, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  3. Ozlem Onaran, 2009. "Wage share, globalization and crisis: the case of the manufacturing industry in Korea, Mexico and Turkey," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 23(2), pages 113-134.
  4. Robert Guttmann & Dominique Plihon, 2010. "Consumer debt and financial fragility," International Review of Applied Economics, Taylor & Francis Journals, vol. 24(3), pages 269-283.
  5. Harrison, Ann, 2005. "Has Globalization Eroded Labor’s Share? Some Cross-Country Evidence," MPRA Paper 39649, University Library of Munich, Germany.
  6. William Milberg & Deborah Winkler, 2010. "Financialisation and the dynamics of offshoring in the USA," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 34(2), pages 275-293, March.
  7. Carmen Reinhart & Vincent Reinhart, 2009. "Capital Flow Bonanzas: An Encompassing View of the Past and Present," NBER Chapters, in: NBER International Seminar on Macroeconomics 2008, pages 9-62 National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  8. Laurence Boone & Claude Giorno & Pete Richardson, 1998. "Stock Market Fluctuations and Consumption Behaviour: Some Recent Evidence," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 208, OECD Publishing.
  9. Nathalie Girouard & Mike Kennedy & Christophe André, 2006. "Has the Rise in Debt Made Households More Vulnerable?," OECD Economics Department Working Papers 535, OECD Publishing.
  10. Aldo Barba & Massimo Pivetti, 2009. "Rising household debt: Its causes and macroeconomic implications--a long-period analysis," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(1), pages 113-137, January.
  11. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2004. "Financialisation and the slowdown of accumulation," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 28(5), pages 719-741, September.
  12. Karl E. Case, John M. Quigley, Robert J. Shiller., 2001. "Comparing Wealth Effects: The Stock Market versus The Housing Market," Economics Working Papers E01-308, University of California at Berkeley.
  13. Carmen M. Reinhart & Kenneth S. Rogoff, 2009. "This Time Is Different: Eight Centuries of Financial Folly," Economics Books, Princeton University Press, edition 1, volume 1, number 8973.
  14. 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.
  15. James Crotty, 2009. "Structural causes of the global financial crisis: a critical assessment of the 'new financial architecture'," Cambridge Journal of Economics, Oxford University Press, vol. 33(4), pages 563-580, July.
  16. Michel Aglietta & Antoine Rebérioux, 2005. "Corporate Governance Adrift," Books, Edward Elgar, number 3675, March.
  17. Eckhard Hein, 2014. "Distribution and Growth after Keynes," Books, Edward Elgar, number 15903, March.
  18. Demir, FIrat, 2009. "Financial liberalization, private investment and portfolio choice: Financialization of real sectors in emerging markets," Journal of Development Economics, Elsevier, vol. 88(2), pages 314-324, March.
  19. Dani Rodrik & Arvind Subramanian, 2009. "Why Did Financial Globalization Disappoint?," IMF Staff Papers, Palgrave Macmillan, vol. 56(1), pages 112-138, April.
  20. Engelbert Stockhammer, 2009. "Determinants of functional income distribution in OECD countries," IMK Studies 05-2009, IMK at the Hans Boeckler Foundation, Macroeconomic Policy Institute.
  21. James Crotty, 2005. "The Neoliberal Paradox: The Impact of Destructive Product Market Competition and Impatient Finance on Nonfinancial Corporations in the Neoliberal Era," Research Briefs rb2003-5, Political Economy Research Institute, University of Massachusetts at Amherst.
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