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date: 09 May 2021

Abstract and Keywords

This article contends that the structural organization of finance within a country reflects and shapes the organization of business and politics. The ‘structural organization of finance’ refers to the ways that savings are channelled from households to businesses and other borrowers. The article is organized as follows. It first describes how finance varies around the world and some of the efforts to create typologies of national systems. It then reviews research from several disciplines on how law and domestic politics shape finance, and how finance creates interests within the polity. The discussion then turns to how the practice of finance has changed with globalization over the past generation, and how the increasing size, scope, and reach of financial markets has altered some of the traditional ‘varieties of capitalism’. The balance among different institutional elements — product markets, labour markets, education systems, social welfare provision — has shifted due to the expansive spread of financial markets across geographic and social space. Hypertrophied finance created policy challenges that were resolved in diverse ways around the world. The article concludes with a brief discussion of the financial crisis that began in 2008 and its implications for how researchers should think about finance and politics.

Keywords: structural organization, finance, law, domestic politics, globalization, financial markets, capitalism, financial crisis

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