Why do firms financialize? Meso-level evidence from the us apparel and footwear industry, 1991-2005

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In recent decades, financialization has significantly restructured American capitalism. Social scientists have offered several accounts to explain financial markets' ascendance, but this work often portrays financialization as a totalizing force and is conducted within divergent theoretical paradigms-political economy and neo-institutionalism-with few attempts to bridge these differences. Accordingly, we risk talking past each other while failing to identify where financialization occurs. I address these issues with a unique panel data set, panel analysis and with a focus on identifying the meso-level determinants of financialization. I do so with a substantively important industry that exemplifies the global, flexible and competitive characteristics of neoliberal capitalism. I argue that the propensity to financialize rests significantly upon firms' productive roles, meaning we cannot understand financialization without understanding production-global production networks in particular. This is also a call for researchers to explore financialization's multifaceted character and to develop a more analytically rigorous research agenda.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)549-573
Number of pages25
JournalSocio-Economic Review
Issue number3
StatePublished - Jul 2015
Externally publishedYes


  • Economic sociology
  • Financialization
  • Institutionalism
  • Political economy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics, Econometrics and Finance(all)


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