Globalizing Patient Capital

The Political Economy of Chinese Finance in the Americas

September 2, 2021

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In his new book, Stephen Kaplan, explores how China’s state-led capitalism affects national level governance. China, as the world’s largest saver, has more than doubled its overseas banking presence since the 2008 global financial crisis. Compared to the West’s private-sector capital, China’s overseas financing is a distinct form of patient capital that marshals the country’s vast domestic financial resources to create commercial opportunities internationally. Its long-term horizon, high risk tolerance, and lack of policy conditionality have allowed developing economies to sidestep the fiscal austerity tendencies of Western markets and multilaterals. Employing a multi-method research strategy that includes statistical tests and extensive field research from across China and Latin America, this book finds that China’s patient capital endows national governments more room to maneuver in formulating their domestic economic policies. At the same time, however, China’s state-led financing features considerable commercial conditionality, which risks intensifying developing nation’s ongoing struggles with debt and dependency.