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The political economy of Spanish financial sector and foreign policy

Tekinbaş, Ege
This thesis analyses the Spanish financial system and foreign policy from a political economy point of view. The foundation, development and transformation of the financial elite in Spain and its affiliations with the policy-making elite are the main concerns of this study. The traditionally complex and interlocking relationship between the financial elite and the policy-making elite in Spain is a perfect showcase to demonstrate how policy and economy affect each other interchangeably. The financial system of Spain has always been highly oligopolistic which led to the continuation of its traditional political and economical protection for many decades before, during and after the liberalisation process went underway. This traditional protection has a very unique characteristic given the fact that it survived nearly a century, under a succession of various political and regulatory regimes with very different ideological agendas. “How could the banking sector preserve its power and influence under many different political ideals and economic orientations” is one the questions to which an answer is sought in this study. Naturally, this answer also covers the origins and structure of the power and influence that the financial elite held over the domestic and foreign policies of the country. Also, the mutual and complex relationship between economy and foreign policy as well as policy-making elite and economic elite, is analysed in this thesis. In other words, the consequences of the shifts in foreign and domestic policy agendas on the Spanish financial elite are studied.