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Παύλος Μασούρος: Corporate Governance and the Great Recession: An Alternative Explanation for Germany’s Success in the Post-2008 World

The ability of a nation to resist a crisis depends on the institutional or spatio-temporal fixes it possesses, which can buffer the effects of the crisis, switch the crisis to other nations or defer its effects to the future. Corporate governance configurations in a given country can function as institutional or spatio-temporal fixes provided they are positioned within an appropriate institutional environment that can give rise to beneficial complementarities.

Germany seems to resist most effectively compared to other nations (be it nations of the insider or the outsider model of corporate governance) the effects of the post-2008 crisis. This paper posits that this is due to an institutional complementarity between Germany’s corporate governance system, its system of industrial relations and the monetary institutions of the European Monetary Union. The advent of shareholder value has blended in a beneficial way with an established system of co-operative collective bargaining, with traditional stakeholderist institutions, but also with the asymmetrical design of the EMU that benefits trade surplus countries and this institutional complementarity has endowed Germany with a comparative advantage over other nations (particularly EU Member States) to pursue its export-led growth strategy and emerge as a champion economy amidst the crisis.

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