Repository logo

Kicking away the financial ladder? German development banking under economic globalisation

Accepted version



Change log


Henow, A 
Chang, HJ 


© 2018, © 2018 Informa UK Limited, trading as Taylor & Francis Group. While extensive literature exists on how economic globalisation has limited developing countries' policy space for industrial policy, the literature on how it has affected advanced economies remains scant. We utilise original archival material to analyse the activities of the German public development bank, the Kreditantstalt für Wiederaufbau (KfW), in order to shed light on an important, but neglected aspect of German industrial policy. We analyse how the KfW responded to multiple challenges after the rise of economic globalisation, including a funding crisis, international agreements to limit export subsidies and Europeanisation. We argue that KfW successfully managed to navigate these challenges in order to retain, and even increase, its ability to conduct selective industrial policy in the post-1980s era. This was possible because of Germany's hard currency and low sovereign credit risk, large market size, which was augmented by membership in the European Union, and Germany's position as regional hegemon within Europe. More broadly, this shows how, conditional on domestic politics, advanced economies are able to shape and exploit the rules of the international economic system to implement industrial policies to their advantage, even as developing countries are given the opposite policy recommendations.



4404 Development Studies, 4407 Policy and Administration, 4408 Political Science, 44 Human Society

Journal Title

Review of International Political Economy

Conference Name

Journal ISSN


Volume Title



Informa UK Limited