Founding a new regime of capital accumulation: entrepreneurs of capitalism, legitimation practices and the institutionalisation of financial irresponsibility. Socio-history of the rise of the French private equity industry (1982-2017)
Benquet, Marlène; Bourgeron, Théo (2018), Founding a new regime of capital accumulation: entrepreneurs of capitalism, legitimation practices and the institutionalisation of financial irresponsibility. Socio-history of the rise of the French private equity industry (1982-2017), 10th annual Critical Finance Studies Conference, 2018-08, Gothenburg, Sweden
TypeCommunication / Conférence
Conference title10th annual Critical Finance Studies Conference
MetadataShow full item record
Institut de Recherche Interdisciplinaire en Sciences Sociales [IRISSO]
Institutions et Dynamiques Historiques de l'Économie et de la Société [IDHES]
Abstract (EN)In 1982, the first French private equity fund (i.e. an asset management company that invests innon-listed private companies, such as venture capital or leveraged buyout funds) was created.Twenty years later, in 2016, the French private equity industry raised €39bn and was the thirdcountry for private equity investment in the world after the US and the UK. The developmentof this new financial industry has required the reconfiguration of the institutions of Frenchcapitalism, from the circuits of capital to the ownership of industrial companies. Thesetransformations enabled financial actors to disconnect their expected returns from the financialrisk they make industrial companies endure – therefore generating a phenomenon of financialirresponsibility within the French financial world.Going beyond traditional approaches of the role of institutions in the development of“high finance”, this paper puts into question the split between private and public actors in thereconfiguration of French capitalism’s institutions. It emphasises the constant cooperationbetween administrative and financial actors in building a new institutional “arrangement”favourable to the circulation of capital through the interface of private equity funds. Inparticular, studying these interactions at a microsocial level, this paper shows that the Frenchprivate equity industry had to produce a moral discourse on its activity (equating private equityinvestment with “value creation”) and to organise itself through lobbying groups, in order toaccumulate the legitimacy that enabled it to attract more capital and to defend its favourable regulation. As such, it highlights how the construction of the circuits of capital on which theprivate equity industry relies has required the earlier accumulation of symbolic, administrativeand social capital by this emerging financial sector.This paper is based on an exceptional and lively empirical material, including a fullaccess to the internal archives of the main French private equity lobbying association since1984, and 12 interviews with former presidents of this lobbying association (who also used tomanage some of the main French private equity funds).
Subjects / Keywordsprivate equity; France
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Building a Centre of Capital Accumulation: A Study of the Institutional Emergence of the French Private Equity Sector (from the Early 1980's to 2017) Benquet, Marlène; Bourgeron, Théo (2020) Article accepté pour publication ou publié