Abstract and Keywords
This article starts with a section on the literature on financialization, briefly sketching the different approaches, objectives, methodologies, and data sources that can be traced in that literature. It then presents quantitative data on the extent of financialization in five political economies (UK, US, The Netherlands, France, and Germany), highlighting both similarities and differences. The article subsequently identifies three different trajectories of financialization and gives some suggestions as to how comparative institutionalism might conceptualize these. Comparative institutionalism needs to do more to come to terms with the structural transformation in contemporary capitalism, whereby finance has transcended its traditional intermediary role and has become a self-standing growth industry primarily geared to the production of liquidity. This change is reflected in the continuous role-shifting of investment banks. The article argues that comparative institutionalists should consider turning to the growing financialization literature to that end.