The Geography of Corporate Financialization
The financialization of the economy is widely discussed in the literature. There is evidence of a shift towards finance at the level of the economy at large as well as regarding the financialization of households, but the literature on the financialization of traditionally non-financial firms is less conclusive. The problem is that some understandings—and statistics—of manufacturing firms versus financial firms are becoming increasingly outdated. New data sources and conceptualizations are needed to understand the contemporary economy. The first aim is to show to what extent, nonfinancial corporations in different economic sectors make profit in the so-called “real” versus the “financial” sphere. The second aim is to arrive at an understanding of the reasons for and workings of financialization in non-financial corporations, in particular those working on the built environment. The project presents a mixed methods study that consists of a largely quantitative study based on the analysis of a large international corporate dataset on the hand and on the other a set of four case studies of financialized corporations working on the built environment. As such, the project starts with data mining and quantitative analysis of recent historical trends and the geography of these trends for different economic sectors; and continues with a case study approach that includes sector- and firm-specific data as well as in-depth interviews, company documents and reporting on firm strategies.