International Networks of Banks and Industry Revisted: The Financial Crisis

Tuesday, July 15, 2014: 6:15 PM
Room: 423
Oral Presentation
Eelke HEEMSKERK , Political Science, University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
William K. CARROLL , University of Victoria, Canada
Meindert FENNEMA , University of Amsterdam, Amsterdam, Netherlands
What impact did the financial and economic crisis that swept the Western world have on  the international network of the corporate elite? Has corporate governance become more national or have transnational networks been robust? Here we take a first step in answering this question.  We see the financial crisis as a test case for the cohesion of the transnational capitalist class (TNC).  If business interests are coordinated and the TNC is resilient, we expect that the business community remains stable in times of economic downturn. A decline of the transnational business community however may indicate a fragmented elite that cannot uphold its cohesion when the financial sector is in trouble.

We investigate this issue by comparing the networks of interlocking directorates among the 176 largest corporations in the world economy in 2006 and 2013: just before the crisis unfolded and present day.  We place this in the empirical context of the corporate networks in 1970, 1976 and 1996 as collected by Carroll and Fennema (2002)