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(S)tra(te)gic Banking. The political economy of European (global) banking


06 June 2024

11:00 - 12:15 CET


Sala Triaria

Villa Schifanoia

'Finance in the Tuscan Hills' seminar series with Elsa Clara Massoc

|| This seminar is open ONLY to EUI members ||

Join us for the next event of the 'Finance in the Tuscan Hills' seminar series, where we are thrilled to host Elsa Clara Massoc, Assistant Professor in International Political Economy at the School of Economics and Political Science of the University of St Gallen.

She will be presenting her paper, ‘(S)tra(te)gic Banking. The political economy of European (global) banking’, co-authored with Mareike Beck.

While few would insist on the claim that banks merely support the real economy, we largely still think of finance as functional intermediaries for other people’s goals and money. According to the burgeoning growth models literature, banks should follow a trajectory coherent with the national growth model in which they are embedded. Global finance, by contrast, would play a mediating role between different growth models (export-led and debt-driven), channelling surpluses into deficits. 

The authors challenge this functional account by analysing banking trajectories in France and Germany. They argue that global financial dynamics play a much more independent role within domestic banking paradigms than recognised by the comparative capitalism literature. Building on the concept of domestically shaped extroverted financialisation, their argument is threefold. Firstly, global banks’ business models are much more similar than respective growth models would lead us to predict. Secondly, the evolution of global banking has not much to do with the stability of national growth models but more to do with the needs and motivations banks have on global markets. Thirdly, the evolution of banks’ business models within singular political economy did not necessarily support the national growth model, but emerged out of a contested field negotiating national and global financial as well as socio-economic developments. 

As a result, the contradictions of financialisation are much more prevalent within domestic institutions than can be account for by unit level accounts. 


Elsa Clara Massoc is an Assistant Professor in International Political Economy at the School of Economics and Political Science of the University of St Gallen. Before that, she was a postdoc at the Advanced Studies of Law and Finance at Goethe University in Frankfurt and a Max Weber fellow at the European University Institute in Florence. She completed her PhD at UC Berkeley in 2018. Her research is in comparative and international political economy and builds on methodological approaches and theoretical perspectives from Political Science, Economic Sociology and Economic History. Her work explores the state-finance nexus, with a focus on European banking, state-led credit allocation, the geo-economics of finance and the political economy of green industrial policy. Her other projects examine the critiques of finance on social media as well as the political foundations of retail investment.


The FBF seminar series ‘Finance in the Tuscan Hills’ focuses on financial sector issues and aims to bring together researchers from across the EUI community, who share an interest in these subjects.

Scientific Organiser

Florence School of Banking and Finance

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