French Corporate Governance in the New Global Economy: Mechanisms of Change and Hybridisation within Models of Capitalism



This article analyses the implications of the internationalisation of capital markets, and the influx of Anglo-Saxon institutional investors, for the French model of capitalism. Its central contention is that the global convergence thesis misrepresents contemporary evolutions because it pays insufficient attention to mechanisms of change within models of capitalism. Secondly, framing analysis in terms of hybridisation and fragmentation of national models, rather than convergence, offers greater explanatory purchase over the French model, constitutes a more accurate characterisation, and helps avoid the ‘convergence or persistence’ impasse within models of capitalism analysis. In exploring French corporate governance, it emphasises the importance of specifying the role of institutional mechanisms as transmission belts of change as a precursor to an assessment of how far shifts in international political economic context bring about changes within French capitalism. Focusing on financial market regulation regime, new legislation in corporate governance and company law, and the market for corporate control as three key potential mechanisms of change, it finds that pre-existing norms and structures endure, mediating the nature of a national political economy's articulation with the international context. Hybridisation and recombination of capitalist institutions drawn from different models provide a far more persuasive account than convergence.