Markets for Sale: Deutsche Börse, Bourse de Paris and the Limits of Political Intervention in the Financial Sector

Helen Callaghan and Paul Lagneau-Ymonet (IRISES, Université Paris-Dauphine)

The project examines the motives, means and limits of political intervention in financial markets by studying the failure of Franco-German stock market cooperation. Over the past two decades, the Paris Stock Exchange, once a defining symbol of French economic sovereignty, demutualized, merged and was ultimately taken over the New York Stock Exchange. Meanwhile, Germany’s regionally fragmented financial market witnessed the birth of Deutsche Börse AG and the ousting of its management board by activist hedge funds in the wake of a hostile bid for the London Stock Exchange. The alternative scenario of a Franco-German alliance did not materialize despite political efforts to promote financial market integration within the Eurozone. Drawing on Interviews and archival research, the project maps and compares the political and economic interests that sought to promote or prevent cross-national alliances in this key area of modern capitalism. The case study advances the emerging literature on “economic patriotism” by identifying conflicts between alternative reference points for economically patriotic loyalties: Projects aimed at creating European champions invite resistance not only from the opponents of industrial policy, but also from those who want to see it exercised the national level.

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