Debating the Restructuring of French Capitalism and Anglo-Saxon Institutional Investors: Trojan Horses or Sleeping Partners?
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Recent studies of French capitalism have unearthed how the French model has evolved into a more market-oriented capitalism, with considerably less direct state intervention. In the wake of the end of ‘protected’ restructuring between (roughly) 1983 and 1996, when the state's preponderant role was able to direct the adjustment process to a considerable degree, there has been a progressive dismantling of the protective cocoon behind which elites restructured the French economy. This article considers a range of scholarship analysing the nature of contemporary French capitalism. Focusing particularly on corporate governance and financial market internationalization, it argues that assertions of ‘Anglo-Saxon’ transformation should be treated with caution. It also identifies a need to establish the relative importance of ‘statist’ elements of the French model, asking whether they constitute a distinct variety of capitalism. It concludes that future research needs to focus on the impacts of changes in the ownership structure of French firms, and trace the causal mechanisms by which French capitalism is transformed, affording due weight to the different (national, regional, global) levels of analysis. Only then can firmer conclusions be drawn about the character of the complex institutional ensemble that is the French model of capitalism.
Keywordsmodels of capitalism France restructuring corporate governance Anglo-Saxon institutional investors
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