Submit a Manuscript to the Journal
Management & Organizational History
For a Special Issue on
Human Capital in Financial Regulation and Supervision
31 May 2023
Special Issue Editor(s)
Yokohama National University
Sean H. Vanatta,
University of Glasgow
Human Capital in Financial Regulation and Supervision
The 2008 Financial Crisis continues to inspire an outpouring of historical analysis on financial institutions and financial governance. In this literature, scholars actively debate how government oversight shaped the financial industry and contributed to—or forestalled—financial crises (Eijffinger & Masciandaro 2013; Tooze 2018). The historical literature on financial oversight primarily focuses on the importance of institutions, regulatory regimes, and legal systems (Goodhart, 2007; Gigliobianco & Toniolo eds., 2009; Schenk & Mourlon-Druol 2016). On the ground, however, individual civil servants with discretionary powers implement and enforce financial rules, determining the how, what, when, and where of supervision (Hotori, Wendschlag & Giddey, 2022). How financial oversight was (and is) conducted has thus been a matter of the experiences and competencies of financial supervisors. Put another way, personnel is policy (Newman, 2019). In this special issue, we seek to infuse this trite adage with new theoretical and empirical heft.
Human capital in financial oversight is still an underexplored area of historical inquiry (Goodhart et al., 2002; White, 2017; Cassis & Telesca eds., 2018; Chambost, Mastin & Touchelay eds., 2023). This is especially true at the mezzo-levels of oversight institutions, where career bureaucrats undertake the day-to-day work of financial governance. Conventionally, scholars have focused only on top officials (Kane, 1922; Yoshino, 1976; Lebaron & Dogan, 2016), seldom venturing deeper into bureaucratic hierarchies of financial regulatory and supervisory agencies. Doing so raises compelling theoretical questions about what forms of human capital matter in oversight institutions, beyond the typical implications of studies in the broader field of human capital (cf. Becker, 1964; Bowles & Gintis, 1975; Putnam, 1995). Is knowledge the core criteria, so that factors like educational background and work experience matter most? Is human capital about relationships, networks, and social capital? Or is the career the essential construct, so that internal promotion paths and the revolving door should most concern us?
This special issue will consider these questions in global perspective. We seek contributions that examine human capital in financial regulatory and supervisory institutions (including self-regulatory institutions), and which take the theoretical stakes of this inquiry seriously. To this end, we encourage authors to tackle empirical topics while advancing focused theoretical agendas. We all know that people matter. We want to understand why. Quantitative as well as narrative approaches are welcome. By taking on the question of human capital in financial oversight, this special issue will not only add an important dimension to financial history scholarship but also contribute to debates about personnel qua policy in the present.
We invite submissions on the following topics and questions, amongst others.
- Who are financial supervisors in a given historical and geographic (both in national and international settings) context? What is their educational and professional background? What about their social class, gender, race, or religion? How have they been recruited? How has the composition of supervisory staff changed and what factors influenced those changes? How has the composition shaped supervisors’ beliefs and practices?
- How have supervisory personnel created and maintained relationships with financial institutions? How have the nature of these relationships—collaborative vs. punitive; cozy vs. confrontational—enhanced or undermined oversight work? How have government officials tried to change the nature of these relationships and what were the results of those efforts?
- How have changes in external intellectual or political climates reshaped the composition of financial oversight personnel (Conti-Brown & Vanatta, 2021)? Their career prospects? Their oversight priorities?
- Do career trajectories of oversight officials create potential “lags” (Bühlman, Davoine, Ravasi, 2018)? To what extent do officials who began careers in one era lack skills, knowledge, or experience suited to changing circumstances? To what extent have officials been slow to prioritize new policy initiatives that disrupt or complicate ingrained routines?
- How have supervisory institutions changed their staff composition to account for new policy roles or initiatives? Have they focused on internal education and training? On external hiring?
- To what extent is the revolving door a relevant concept for historical analysis of financial oversight (Lucca, Seru & Trebbi, 2014)? Can historical analysis of the movement of personnel from the public to the private sector complicate the association of the concept with regulatory capture (Stigler, 1971, Carpenter & Moss 2014, Shive & Forster 2017)? When do compensation differences between the public and private sectors matter?
- What can we learn by comparing human capital across different supervisory institutions in the same country (eg. the Comptroller of the Currency, the Federal Reserve, and the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation in the United States; or the Bundesaufsichtsamt für das Kreditwesen and the Bundesbank in Germany)? Or among different countries or levels of government? Or among different international organizations (Yago, 2013; Yago & Asai eds., 2015)?
- What does analysis of financial oversight personnel reveal about state-building and state capacity? Are financial oversight institutions different than other kinds of government agencies? Or do human capital needs link supervisory institutions with similar kinds of government bureaucracies (those requiring expertise? Those relying on networks?)?
If you have questions, please contact the guest editors.
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