This research project examines why systems of mortgage finance in Britain and Denmark have largely been immune to substantive reform, despite the failures and costs manifested by the 2008 global financial crisis. Neo-Weberian scholars currently dominate this research area, and suggest deregulated mortgage markets are maintained to facilitate access to the social norm and material gains of private housing to foster bottom-up consent to political party rule. However, whether private housing is an independent social norm is highly questionable, and the financial gains from homeownership are highly stratified. Additionally, the emphasis on the home as a financial asset fails to account for the decline in wages as a share of GDP, which is negatively affected by the process of financialisation. This thesis deploys a quantitative analysis to assess whether there is any meaningful relationship between the falling wage share and the vast expansion of mortgage credit, and a qualitative examination of whether there is a deliberate social purpose encoded in public policy formulation to meet such ends. The results from the time-series regression analysis demonstrated that the increased distribution of mortgage credit does have a negative effect on the wage share in Britain between 1979 and 2012, but not in Denmark. The qualitative analysis of the British case demonstrated that mortgage credit was deregulated to establish a mortgage-led financialised accumulation regime that increased the capital share of GDP at the expense of wages. Additionally, the disciplinary mechanisms of mortgage credit were used to integrate deviant trade union members into a functioning social formation. Alternatively, the qualitative analysis of the Danish case revealed how mortgage finance has been restricted and liberalised to regulate the performance of the macro-economy. The Danish government uses mortgage credit to intervene in the economy as the country’s integration into the European and global economy have marginalised their ability to use traditional fiscal and monetary policy interventions. A comparative analysis of British and Danish mortgage systems connected them to the wider political economy of each state, specifically welfare state structures and industrial relations, which explains the necessity of maintaining liberalised mortgage finance markets in Britain and Denmark.
|Date of Award
|Magnus Ryner (Supervisor) & Roberto Roccu (Supervisor)