This article examines the spread of financialization in Germany before the financial crisis. It provides an up-to date overview on the literature on financialization and reviews which of the phenomena typically associated with financialization have emerged in Germany. In particular, the article aims to clarify how the prevailing institutional structure and its changes had contributed to or had countervailed the spread of financialization and how it had shaped the specific German variant of financialization. For this end, it combines the rich literature on Germany's institutional structure with the more macroeconomic oriented literature on financializaton. With the combination of those different perspectives the article sheds light on the reasons for the spread of financialization and the specific forms it has taken in Germany.
The concept of financialisation has undergone a similar career as ‘globalisation’, ‘neoliberalism’ or even ‘capitalism’, in the course of which it changed from the explanandum to the explanans; the process of financialisation is taken for granted, while the concrete historical and empirical causal conditions of its realisation and perpetuation are being moved into the background.