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See detailThe politics of bank structural reform: Business power and agenda setting in the United Kingdom, France, and Germany
Howarth, David UL; James, Scott

in Business and Politics (2020), 22(1), 25-51

Following the financial crisis, the United Kingdom introduced major structural reforms to address concern about Too-Big-To-Fail (TBTF) banks, while France and Germany adopted much weaker reforms. This is ... [more ▼]

Following the financial crisis, the United Kingdom introduced major structural reforms to address concern about Too-Big-To-Fail (TBTF) banks, while France and Germany adopted much weaker reforms. This is puzzling given the presence of large universal banks engaged in market making activities in all three countries, which suffered significant losses during the international financial crisis, and given the commitments to reform made by political leaders in all three countries. The paper explains this policy divergence by analysing how dynamics of agenda setting contributed to the emergence of policy windows on structural reform. We explain the United Kingdom's decision to delegate the process to an independent commission as an example of venue shifting which helped to insulate the process from industry framing, and resulted in “conflict expansion” by mobilizing a wider coalition of actors in support of bank ringfencing. By contrast, in France and Germany the agenda was tightly managed through existing institutional venues, enabling industry to resist the framing of the issue around TBTF and limiting the role of non-business groups—a process we label as “conflict contraction.” We argue that analysis of agenda setting dynamics provides new insights into the cross-national variability of business power. [less ▲]

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See detailBank power and public policy since the financial crisis
Howarth, David UL; James, Scott; Macartney, Huw

in Business and Politics (2020), 22(1), 1-24

Despite much commentary in the media and the popular assumption that the banking industry exerts undue influence on government policy-making, the academic literature on the role of the banks since the ... [more ▼]

Despite much commentary in the media and the popular assumption that the banking industry exerts undue influence on government policy-making, the academic literature on the role of the banks since the 2008 financial crisis remains theoretically and empirically under-specified. In particular, we argue that different forms of financial power are often conflated, while favorable policy outcomes are too-readily assumed to be evidence of regulatory capture. In short, we still know relatively little about how bank influence varies over time and in different national contexts, the extent to which banking interests are unified or divided, and the conditions under which banks are capable of producing meaningful variation in policy outcomes. This article has three objectives: 1) to explain why the debate on bank influence matters; 2) to examine the evidence of bank influence since the international financial crisis; and 3) to set out a range of conceptual tools for thinking about bank power. [less ▲]

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