The School of Geography, Politics and Sociology

Student Profiles

Emile Boustani

Project title: Variegated Patterns of Firm Finance: a Study of Automobile Suppliers in Hungary and Eastern Germany

Supervisors: Professor Andy Pike and Professor Jane Pollard

The interrelatedness between finance and regional development has been attracting increasing attention over the last years in economic geography and regional studies. In this context, the study of how geographical factors may impact the way firms finance their operations is an emerging field of research that aims to contribute to a better understanding of how and why the evolving modes of firm finance may impact regional development.

This research project aims to contribute to this debate by exploring the variegated patterns of firm finance in contexts that are marked both by post-socialism and by global production networks (GPNs), with an empirical focus on a sample of firms in the automobile supplier industries in Eastern Germany and Hungary.

Using existing conceptual frameworks on geographies of firm finance, global production networks and variegated capitalism as a theoretical basis, the project explores whether and how patterns of firm finance can be empirically evidenced among both large and small firms of the automobile supplier sector in Eastern Germany and Hungary and to study potential reasons and implications of financing patterns.

The analysis is based on the framework of global production networks to highlight the relevance of the integration of these firms in inter-firm networks (and their relative position within these networks), of governments and other institutions and of other actors (such as financial institutions and capital market investors) in the way the modes of firm finance evolve and matter over time and space. Existing research on variegated capitalism is also considered, to reflect the working assumption that financing practices, to the extent they can be empirically evidenced, are not uniform processes but variegated ones which materialise in different forms and to different extents depending on the historical, socio-institutional and political/regulatory context of the regions in which the analysed firms operate.

The aim of this project is to make a policy-relevant empirical contribution to the growing body of research on geographies of firm finance, production networks and regional development in post-socialist contexts.