The Financialization of Policy Preferences: Financial Asset Ownership, Regulation and Crisis Management


Political economists have often drawn a hard line between the interests of owners of capital and the interests of labor. Yet over the past 30 years in Anglo-Saxon countries in particular, workers have become increasingly invested in capital markets activity through the privatization of pension systems and other incentives for market-based savings. In this paper we investigate whether this “financialization of everyday life” has generated a convergence of policy preferences whereby individuals support policies traditionally associated with the financial sector. Using three separate datasets on the US population, we find evidence that financial asset ownership is associated with lower support for more stringent financial regulatory policy, and higher support for financial sector bailouts. Such effects on individual preferences are modest on average, but persist even when controlling for indicators of social class and a range of other conditions, circumstances and time periods.

Socio-Economic Review, Volume 18, Issue 3, July 2020, Pages 655–680, DOI: 10.1093/ser/mwy027, Awarded the 2020 SER Best Article Prize