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Journal Article

Bank Rescue Schemes in Continental Europe: The Power of Collective Inaction


Woll,  Cornelia
Max Planck Sciences Po Center on Coping with Instability in Market Societies (MaxPo), MPI for the Study of Societies, Max Planck Society;

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Woll, C. (2014). Bank Rescue Schemes in Continental Europe: The Power of Collective Inaction. Government and Opposition, 49(3), 426-451. doi:10.1017/gov.2014.5.

Cite as: https://hdl.handle.net/11858/00-001M-0000-0019-B594-D
Comparing bank rescue schemes in France and Germany during the banking crisis of 2008–9, this article argues that collective inaction is a little-studied aspect in the exercise of power in business–government relations. Contrary to studies that focus on lobbying, structural power or the influence of beliefs, the comparison highlights that governments depend on contributions from the financial industry during crisis management. In the negotiations to design bank support schemes, some countries, such as France, succeeded in engaging their financial sector collectively. Such public–private burden-sharing arrangements alleviate the public budget and increase mutual surveillance between banks during government support. In other countries, such as Germany, a collectively organized industry response failed, which forced the government to design an entirely public support scheme. The German government reacted to this perceived imbalance by imposing tighter banking regulation to avoid a repetition of the impotence it experienced in 2008.