Beyond Market Failure: The Market Creating and Shaping Roles of State Investment Banks.
37 Pages Posted: 7 Mar 2016
Date Written: October 15, 2014
Recent decades witnessed a trend whereby private markets retreated from financing the real economy, whilst simultaneously the real economy itself became increasingly financialized. This trend resulted in public finance becoming more important for capital investments. Within this context, the paper focuses on the roles played by a particular source of public finance: state investment banks (SIBs). It develops a conceptual typology of the different roles that SIBs play in the economy which together show the market creation/shaping process of SIBs, rather than their mere ‘market fixing’ roles. The paper discusses four types of investments, both theoretically and empirically: countercyclical; developmental; venture capitalist role; and challenge-led. To develop the typology, we first discuss how standard market failure theory (MFT) justifies the roles of SIBs, the diagnostics and evaluation toolbox associated with it, and resulting criticisms centred on notions of ‘government failures’. We then show the limitations of this approach based on insights from Keynes, Schumpeter, Minsky and Polanyi, and other authors from the evolutionary economics tradition, which help us move towards a framework for public investments that is more about market creating/shaping rather than market fixing. As frameworks lead to evaluation tools, we use this new lens to both analyse the increasingly targeted investments that SIBs are making, and to provide a new light on the usual criticisms that are made about such directed activity (e.g. crowding out and picking winners).
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