- Absent alternatives and insider interests in postcrisis financial reform
- Der Moderne Staat : Zeitschrift für Public Policy, Recht und Management
- Volume | Issue number
- 3 | 2
- Pages (from-to)
- Document type
- Faculty of Social and Behavioural Sciences (FMG)
- Amsterdam Institute for Social Science Research (AISSR)
The credit crisis that began in the summer of 2007 has fundamentally challenged much financial regulation and the political institutions that produced it. Measured against the criticisms that have been brought forth against previous financial governance, the extent of governments’ overall reform ambitions has been disappointing, generating little hope that the threat of future crises is being tackled seriously. Starting from this observation, this article asks: what explains governments’ reform choices, and thus also their limited ambitions? To explore this question, this article focuses on the positions that four governments central to global financial regulation (the USA, the UK, Germany and France) have taken in advance of the G20 meetings in 2009 across four key issue areas in financial regulation: accounting standards, derivatives trading, credit ratings agencies and banking rules. It evaluates both the overlap between positions across domains and governments as well as the differences between them. Such variation, we argue, provides key clues to the overall drivers behind reforms - as well as their limits. The overall picture that emerges can be summarized as follows: governments have been staunch defenders of their national firms’ competitive interests in regulatory reforms. That has not necessarily meant that they followed industry preferences across the board - new rules that might dent profits were imposed in several cases. It has been the relative impact, compared to foreign competitors, that counted in reform positions, not the absolute impact. As this article also shows, these differences of opinion have played out within the context and the limits of the overall debates about thinkable policy alternatives. In spite of fundamental criticisms of pre-crisis regulatory orthodoxy, convincing and coherent alternatives have been forthcoming slowly at best. This has made reform proposals less radical than criticisms, seen on their own, might suggest.
If you believe that digital publication of certain material infringes any of your rights or (privacy) interests, please let the Library know, stating your reasons. In case of a legitimate complaint, the Library will make the material inaccessible and/or remove it from the website. Please Ask the Library, or send a letter to: Library of the University of Amsterdam, Secretariat, Singel 425, 1012 WP Amsterdam, The Netherlands. You will be contacted as soon as possible.