When Voters Become Capitalists: The Politics of Asset Ownership and Financial Power in Growth Models

Dustin Voss

The growth of global finance during the last three decades has created vast opportunities for wealth accumulation for “average” citizens but has also brought with it heightened risks of financial crisis. A quick glance at the size and dominance of financial sectors in comparative perspective reveals that policy-makers deal with this dilemma in very different ways, ranging from extensive financial liberalization to more conservative capital market restriction. What explains the variety of the role that finance plays under different growth models? And when do countries shift towards a greater reliance on finance as a driver of wealth creation and macroeconomic growth? This project explores the electoral foundations of interest group power and the political implications of asset ownership. Specifically, it focuses on the ability of the finance industry to leverage its political power in coalitions with asset-rich voters and push growth models towards a greater reliance on financial sectors. The project applies a mixed-methods research design combining quantitative analysis of household asset ownership across OECD countries since the 1990s with qualitative process tracing and case studies based on interviews and media analysis.

Go to Editor View