Journal Article

The rise of activist investors and patterns of political responses: lessons on agency

Ewald Engelen, Martijn Konings and Rodrigo Fernandez

in Socio-Economic Review

Published on behalf of Society for the Advancement of Socio-Economics

Volume 6, issue 4, pages 611-636
Published in print October 2008 | ISSN: 1475-1461
Published online June 2008 | e-ISSN: 1475-147X | DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1093/ser/mwn012
The rise of activist investors and patterns of political responses: lessons on agency

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  • Moral Philosophy
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This paper ventures an institutional explanation for distinct patterns of political contestation over the rise of activist investors such as private equity and hedge funds in Europe and North America. Taking issue with the dichotomous nature of the literature on varieties of capitalism (VoC) and the homogenizing assumptions of the literature on financialization, we argue that the specific patterns of politicization in the US, Germany and the Netherlands over the rise of activist investors result from the different institutional structurings of these countries' political economies. Although our observations fit the current (re)discovery of agency in the VoC debate, we argue that they point in the direction of a less voluntaristic view of agency than seems fashionable today.

Keywords: capitalism; varieties of; corporate governance; financial markets; financialization; G1 general financial markets; N2 financial markets and institutions; P1 capitalist systems

Journal Article.  9783 words.  Illustrated.

Subjects: Moral Philosophy ; Corporate Social Responsibility ; Welfare Economics ; Political Economy ; Economic Sociology

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