The Invisible Hand of the State: The Use of National Development Banks to Enforce Growth Strategies

Marco Oberti

Contemporary capitalism has been accompanied by a limited capacity of the state to hold corporate actors to a desired political conduct. The dissertation project investigates how states counteract such tendency and rely on different forms of intervention to implement a desired growth strategy. Using document and interview data, it looks at the role of the Italian, German, and French national development banks as instruments used by states to enact growth strategies and intervene in “core sectors.” Building on an analysis of the criteria according to which development banks identify core sectors for intervention, the study will seek to explain how national patterns of interaction between business and development banks determine the use of different means of intervention (e.g., share acquisition vs. on-lending) and varying outcomes. A further aim of the project will be to explore whether electoral politics has some enhancing or hindering influence on the activity of development banks.

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