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Political Economy

G17(b) - Finance: Security, Inclusion, Precarity

Date: Jun 6 | Time: 10:30am to 12:00pm | Location: SWING 207

Chair/Président/Présidente : James Lawson (University of Victoria)

Discussant/Commentateur/Commentatrice : James Lawson (University of Victoria)

Financial Inclusion, Post-Crisis Politics, and the New Coalitions in Financial Regulation: Tyler Girard (Western University)
Abstract: The idea of ‘financial inclusion’ has rapidly emerged as a priority within global economic governance. The popularization of this idea represents a potentially transformative change in financial markets, as global financial regulators and national governments seek to integrate approximately two billion people into the formal financial sector. Existing explanations for the rise of financial inclusion often emphasize its capacity to advance finance-led capitalism, the role of transnational capital in promoting the idea, and the linkages to the development of microcredit and microfinance. Drawing insights from research on international norms and historical institutionalism, I challenge prevailing accounts of the emergence of financial inclusion by focusing on why the idea was endorsed and how it was articulated by global financial regulators in the aftermath of the 2008 financial crisis. Through primary documents and approximately fifty elite interviews, I argue that a broad coalition of supporting actors across the international community were united by the construction of financial inclusion as a discursive rallying point and its capacity to link the objectives of financial stability, financial integrity, economic growth, and poverty alleviation. This process generated two critical results: (1) the legitimation and strengthening of new state and non-state actors, many from the global South, in the construction of financial markets; (2) the displacement of contestation from the goals to the instruments of financial regulation. This paper thus contributes to recent work on the ideational underpinnings of financial regulation and the shift in policy priorities and political coalitions engendered by economic ideas.

Protecting Personal Finance?: The Regulation of Financial Planning and Advising and the Dynamics of Federalism: Heather McKeen-Edwards (Bishop's University)
Abstract: In the modern economy effective regulation of financial planning and advising is increasingly central given the increasing shift toward securitization in everyday finance through the growing need for private investment to fund retirement and education savings in the last few decades. Yet in Canada this form of regulation presents interesting regulatory challenges as these areas fall into the complicated area of securities regulation. Here the lack of a national regulator leaves the Canadian Securities Association, an umbrella organization of Canada’s 13 provincial and territorial securities regulators, to coordinate efforts despite the inability to impose or enforce any particular regulation on the provincial entities. While the CSA has worked toward harmonization securities rules across provincial boundaries it has been limited in important ways by the federated environment. Utilizing insights from dynamic federalism, this paper will examine regulatory attempts to restrict title of financial planner and to develop a best interest standard for financial advisors and dealers to highlight the complex nature of harmonization and fragmentation. In turn it shows how the continued inconsistencies in these areas have left holes in consumer financial protection that Canadian governments are only beginning to address.

Precarity, Financial Satisfaction, and Welfare State Type: Anthony Sealey (University of Toronto), Alix Jansen (University of Toronto)
Abstract: Work and welfare in advanced industrial economies have been reshaped by a combination of new technologies, globalization, and the rise of social investment policy strategies. In the same period, non-standard work has become increasingly more common for people located throughout the income distribution. Untangling which types of non-standard work expose people to financial instability and undue stress, and which policy arrangements mitigate these new social risks, is a complex task facing students of the contemporary welfare state. In this paper, we use World Values Survey data to investigate the impacts of employment status on financial satisfaction. We find that taken together across the advanced industrial democracies, self-employed workers express higher levels of financial satisfaction than their full-time, part-time, and unemployed counterparts. That said, welfare state type matters. At the beginning of the twenty-five year period that we consider, full-time workers in liberal states were generally less satisfied than their social democratic welfare state equivalents, while liberal self-employed workers were comparatively more satisfied. Since the early 1990s, however, this difference has eroded, as liberal self-employed workers have become progressively less satisfied while the satisfaction of the self-employed in social democratic states increases. We argue that these changes in relative levels of financial satisfaction are a result of the differential impacts of levels of economic security from distinct welfare state type policies, which have left self-employed entrepreneurs in liberal welfare states comparatively more exposed to the ongoing maelstrom of economic globalization than their social democratic counterparts have been.