La reconfiguration actuelle du système financier suisse: quelles articulations avec l'économie réelle et les régions?
Project responsable Olivier Crevoisier
Team member Victoriya Salomon
Abstract The current reshaping of the Swiss financial system : what connections with the real economy and the regions? The current crisis, being originally only a financial crisis and concerning one sector and one country (the American mortgage loans), that has gradually extended to the global economy poses the question of the relationship between the financial and real spheres of the economy. For more than fifteen years, the autonomy process of the financial sphere and its impacts on the real economy has been largely studied by heterodox economists (from the Regulation School, from the Conventions School or from the institutional approach). For these authors, the current crisis of the finance-led accumulation regime means the end of a period which has begun in the eighties and which is characterized by a market-based financial system and its management criteria in the economic system and more broadly in the society. According to this approach, we are living a period consisting in a major reshaping of institutions, especially of those of the monetary and financial system. A second research approach deals with the geography of financial activities and of the finance-led accumulation regime, and as well with its impacts on the real economy (see Engelen and al., 2010; Pike and Pollard, 2010). For these authors, the current financial system can be characterized by an intense capital mobility which has replaced traditional dynamics based on a capital accumulation depending on time and made at regional and national scales. The financial industry can be described as a system which constructs and utilizes the hypermobility of capital. Moreover, the corporate governance appears like the institutional device which allows the anchoring of capital in the real economy, through big quoted firms. The study deals with the Swiss financial system and its relationships with the real economy. It postulates that the current financial crisis has been the trigger meaning the limits of “the finance-led accumulation regime” (Boyer, 2009), and consequently it involves some financial innovation initiatives with the aim to reshape circuits from the collect of funds to investment. Consequently, the main research question is the following one: what are the financial innovations that are developping in Switzerland and to what extent they are meaning the emergence of (new) relationships between savings and real investments?. These innovations come from the financial sector that is searching to recreate some confidence as well as to develop a new ethics-based rationale of the role of market finance. (Boltanski and Chiapello, 1999 ; Dembinski, 2008). Innovations come also from some investors, such as pension funds, which are looking for stable and long term returns. Finally, some quoted firms are having difficulties in capital leverage through financial markets and are looking for other means of profits sources. Using mainly some works of the institutionalist economy and of the geography of finance, the theorical framework of this research is based on the institutionalist and territorial approach of the financial industry (Corpataux et al., 2009; Theurillat et al., 2008). It deals with financial innovations, i.e. with any kind of new circuit linking savings and investments, which seem to characterize the current period. The aim of this study is to identify the object of innovation (what is the nature of the economic activity through which kind of financial institutions or special purpose vehicule as well as which kind of products: for instance, dark pools, regional funds, “green” funds, new direct investments, “sustainable” private equity, etc.), the stakeholders and the institutions on which depend their relations as well as the spatial (for instance the modalities of capital mobility between different places) and temporal aspects (for instance the time frame of the investment). Moreover, this will consist in emphasizing the rationale of actors towards financial innovations in terms of practise as well as of arguments. In this way, we will be able to analyze to what extent the relationships between the financial and real sphere of the economy are being reshaped. Concerning the research methodology, we adopt a qualitative approach for our exploratory study. More precisely, it consists in a case study of 15 financial innovations within the Swiss financial system and it mainly uses qualitative tools for collecting data. These data will come from semi-structured interviews with, on the one hand, actors involved in financial innovations, and on the other, with four groups of “instituted” actors belonging to the various fields in the financial sector, firms, investors as well as other key actors of the financial regulation. A task group, composed of actors coming from the same four groups, will also be created to supervise the research. Through these interviews (individuals or group), we will be able to place the financial innovations in their institutional setting and in the more overall evolution of the financial industry (financial circuits composed of investors, investments and intermediates). The data collection will be completed by a documentary analysis (reports and publications of banks and “instituted” actors, documents concerning the legal framework of the financial system) as well as by a secondary analyses of statistical data in order to measure the importance of financial innovations and of the evolution of the Swiss financial system. This exploratory study on emergent rationales (pratices and arguments) is a relevant way, and to our knowledge original, to situate, institutionally and territorially, the new reshaping of circuits linking savings and investments after the financial crisis. In picking out the setting up of institutions which could play a major role in the next years, this research will contribute to give new reflections both on the scientific level (geography of finance) and on the social and political level.
Keywords Financial system, Financial innovation, Institutions, Territory, Swiss Economy, Sustainable development
Type of project Fundamental research project
Research area Géographie humaine et économique, écologie humaine
Method of financing FNS - Encouragement de projets (Div. I-III)
Status Completed
Start of project 1-9-2011
End of project 30-9-2016
Overall budget 260'495.00
Additional info http://p3.snf.ch/projects-134606#
Contact Olivier Crevoisier