A new map of the financial world and why it matters

Professor Dariusz Wójcik, Professor of Economic Geography

25 February 2016

The School of Geography and the Environment invited alumni, students, staff and friends to its third Annual Lecture on 25 February 2016.

Financial and business services, including law, accounting, and business consulting, have been one of the most dynamic sectors of the world economy, and one of the most controversial. Although they are central to the processes of globalisation, financialisation and development, our understanding of the sector in the context of tumultuous changes of the early 21st century is partial. How have these firms and their geography been affected by the global financial crisis and the Eurozone crisis? How are they changing in response to new financial regulation, the expected shift of economic activity to Asia-Pacific and the Global South, and the digital revolution? What are their impacts on urban, regional, and global development?

In this lecture Dr Wójcik presented a new theoretical framework and emerging empirical research that addressed the above questions. On the conceptual side, he introduced the idea of Global Financial Networks as complex evolving systems that link financial and business services, financial centres, and offshore jurisdictions with each other and the rest of the world economy. On the empirical side, he showed that the evidence for the global centre of financial gravity moving east is at best mixed, while the map of the financial world is becoming ever more uneven, with negative implications for development, equity, and stability. Dr Wójcik argued that geography offers a distinctive perspective that helps to cut through media hype and ideologically charged debates on the virtues and vices of finance.

Prof Dariusz Wójcik. © John CairnsPhoto by John Cairns

Dariusz Wójcik is Professor of Economic Geography at the School of Geography and the Environment, Oxford University, and Fellow of St Peter's College, Oxford. His research focuses on finance, globalisation, and urban and regional development. He has published 3 books and over 40 articles, and serves on the editorial board of Economic Geography and The Journal of Economic Geography. He has held visiting positions at the London School of Economics and Political Science, Hong Kong University, National University of Singapore, Beijing Normal University, and the University of Sydney, and chaired the Global Conference on Economic Geography in 2015. He is the co-editor of the forthcoming New Oxford Handbook of Economic Geography, and leads the Global Network on Financial Geography.