FUSION: Financialisation and Income Inequality

The FUSION project is hosted by The Bauman Institute at the School of Sociology and Social Policy of the University of Leeds. Dr. Matilde Massó is the experienced researcher of the FUSION project. She is an Associate Professor at the Universidade da Coruña with expertise in the field of financialisation studies and sociology of work and employment.

The project analyses the relationship between the logic of monetary accumulation stemming from the financial sphere and declining working conditions and widening social inequality, which is affecting large segments of the European population. With notable exceptions (see Alvarez, 2015; Lin & Tomasovic-Devey, 2013; Stockhammer, 2013), studies carried out to date have failed to provide a systematic and satisfactory explanation for the relationship between financialisation, employment and wealth distribution. This project will contribute to filling this knowledge gap in the comparative cases of Spain and the UK – two different spaces in terms of Eurozone economies.

The FUSION project will be focused specifically in the relationship between non-financial corporations and the financial system. We hypothesize that financialisation is manifested in a change in the behaviour of non-financial corporations who now shift their business model from a strategy of ‘retain and reinvest’ to one based on ‘downsize and distribute’, a shift that has been proven for the US case (Lazonick & O’Sullivan, 2008; Davis, 2016). The FUSION project aims to test this hypothesis for the UK and Spanish cases, with the aim of identifying different models of financialisation in productive firms and its consequences on employment and income inequality. The FUSION team is analysing how different models of financialisation encompassing different industries are affecting the employment relationship, and more specifically the demand of employment and the salary expenses.


The objective of the FUSION project is to analyse how the growing importance of the financial sector as a source of profit is influencing the demand for employment and the working conditions in the cases of the UK and Spain. This will allow the FUSION team to analyse financialisation models in Europe, comparing the ‘Anglo-American’ (UK) and ‘Southern European’ (Spain) ‘varieties of capitalism’ (Coates, 2000; Hall and Soskice (2001), thereby making an innovative contribution to the fields of Economic Sociology and Socio-Economics. This project also aims to examine the role played by the contested nature of money in the process of capital accumulation and wealth distribution. To specify, our goals are to:

  • Ob1. Complete a quantitative analysis of the relationship between processes of financialisation and the quality and quantity of the demand of employment. This will be achieved by comparing the capital financial income ratios with non-financial income and their connection with the evolution of employment in non-financial corporations.
  • Ob2. Complete a comparative case study using a mixed-method approach to analyse how processes of financialisation are affecting working conditions in non-financial corporations in the UK and Spain.
  • Ob3. Evaluate the potential of new monetary forms to prevent dual stratification processes caused by the expansion of the financial sector and its consequences on the productive firms.

Project website