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date: 02 June 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article reviews alternative approaches to comparing financial systems and conceptualizing their broader political–economic functions. It provides a brief empirical summary of key changes in financial systems. The article addresses debates on how to explain change in financial systems. Finally, it revisits the issue of financial system typologies, looks more closely at the changing function of financial systems vis-à-vis the real economy and the financial crisis of the late 2000s, and concludes with an agenda for future research in the field. The article suggests that simple typologies of national financial systems are increasingly difficult to sustain in the light of common trends towards the increased financialization and internationalization of finance, even as remaining differences in national financial systems are quite evident in the differential impact of the global financial crisis.

Keywords: financial systems, political–economic functions, real economy, financial crisis, internationalization

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