Member of the Board Tuomas Välimäki
Opening remarks
Workshop on Finance and Politics
Helsinki and online, 17 August 2020

Workshop on Finance and Politics

I would like to welcome you all to this hybrid event on Finance and Politics.

Thanks to the corona pandemic only some of us are physically present in Helsinki at the House of Estates, while most of us – we are virtually, but still actively present online to discuss the interactions between finance and politics. I believe it is rather obvious to us that there are interlinkages between these two concepts. Yet, I am almost certain that next year this duality has risen into a trinity, and there will be several workshops on health, finance and politics.

Now, despite the complications the pandemic brings about, it was quite obvious for us that we need to have this event – even if virtually – especially as the quality of the submissions was so high. When the papers were selected we were still preparing for a workshop in a traditional sense, meaning a physical meeting in one location. However from the very beginning, plans were also made for various combinations of online meetings. With a second wave of the pandemic looming, I only wonder whether this kind of hybrid conference will be the new normal, at least for quite some time.

Today’s Workshop approaches its theme from many different angles. Research on the interaction of finance and politics has ballooned in recent years. For example, research on the role of financial companies in lobbying for specific policies is most interesting from the policy-maker’s perspective. But there are also many ways in which political events affect financial performance of companies. Also, a diverse set of countries are covered in the presentations, ranging from China to India via the United States and the European Union.

I would also like to thank our two excellent keynote speakers, Raymond Fisman (Boston University) and Ľuboš Pástor (University of Chicago) for their contribution to the success of the Workshop. Excellent that you could join us online.

Finally, I would like to note that the Workshop is a joint effort between the Bank of Finland Institute for Economies in Transition BOFIT as well as the University of Strasbourg’s LaRGE Research Center and Fordham University. This long-standing cooperation has continued already for several years and has helped to produce many excellent scientific events. I am glad that this tradition continues also during these unusual times.

With these words I believe we all are ready for a productive and informative workshop!