Under Review 

Case-Ruchala, Devin. "An old novel idea: Introducing an original dataset of G-Pub formation."  (Supplementary Information). Accepted for publication at Review of International Political Economy.

Amidst growing financial internationalization, public banks are a reemerging mode of financial governance that can serve as a policy tool for counter-cyclical crisis financing, proactive investment (e.g., green finance), or protectionist lending. Yet no systematic studies examine what leads governments to form public banks in the first place, in part due to a lack of data. This paper introduces an original dataset, conceptual framework, and descriptive empirical insights to serve as the basis for future research. I discuss contending definitions of public banks to advance the more targeted conceptualization of  “government-initiated public banks” (G-Pubs), or banks that are formed by governments and remain under government control through ownership and/or management. The dataset includes 1,363 banks and spans 195 countries for the period 1401-2020. Using these data, I test prevailing assumptions suggesting G-Pubs are more likely to form in less developed or more autocratic countries. I show that for the period 1970-2020, G-Pub formation is instead associated with developed democracies. Descriptive analysis prior to the 1970s further supports a more complex view, underscoring the need for a renewed research agenda on public banking that considers both domestic and international political economic dynamics, including international diffusion, financial integration, and crisis mechanisms.

Case-Ruchala, Devin. "A Paradox of Openness: Democracies, Financial Integration & Crisis." Accepted for publication at Review of International Organizations.

Why do democracies experience financial crises more often than non-democracies? Revisiting the 2008 Great Financial Crisis (GFC) as a significant and informative test case, I argue that considering the way domestic institutions inhere in system-level structures is important to explaining crisis susceptibility among democracies since the turn of the twenty-first century. I introduce the mechanism of co-regime financial connections in showing that regime type is an important systematic feature of global financial flows. Employing a latent space network regression model using IMF Coordinated Portfolio Investment Survey (CPIS), I find that the network of cross-border portfolio asset investments is systematically patterned by co-democracy pairs. I then show that this regime-patterned interdependence affects increased financial crisis susceptibility among democracies. My findings build on literature highlighting the interdependence between domestic- and system-level factors and inform an empirical puzzle regarding the prevalence of financial crises among democracies.

Case-Ruchala, Devin and Nance, Mark. "Discipline without punishment: illicit finance, blacklisting, and the ideational sources of compliance in global financial governance." (Supplementary Information). Invitation to revise and resubmit at International Studies Quarterly.


How important are ideas in global financial governance?  To help answer this question, we present findings from mixed-methods research into a most-likely case for materially driven enforcement: the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) blacklists as a tool of the anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism regime. Practitioners and scholars often expect the blacklists to inflict financial harm, inducing compliance with FATF standards. In statistical analyses of four different global financial flows, we are unable to establish a systematic effect of listing. Relying on expert interviews, we trace bank decision-making and find the lists’ impact is diminished by two key factors: the existence of multiple, competing lists and banks’ access to more finely-grained, client-specific information provided by third party companies. Ultimately, we argue that compliance with FATF standards is driven by a mistaken belief in the financial impact of blacklisting, pointing to the ideational underpinnings of enforcement.

In Progress

Case-Ruchala, Devin. "Hurry up or wait: Public bank formation in the 20th century."

Public banks are a demonstrated powerful policy tool to overcome market failures such as by meeting the needs of under-financed sectors or smoothing increasing economic disruptions associated with the COVID-19 pandemic and climate change. Yet existing literature offers little insight into what leads to their emergence in the first place. I provide the first general theory and cross-sectional analysis of the formation of public banks, or what I more precisely term "government-initiated public banks" ("G-Pubs"). I argue that throughout the 20th century, state formation operates as a "historical cause", the contextual circumstances of which lead to two distinct and self-reinforcing patterns of G-Pub formation: 1) serial formation when state formation occurs along with disruptions to the private financial sector and political support for economic nationalism; or 2) irregular formation when these conditions are absent but subsequent financial crises and policy advocates create specific demands for G-Pubs. I rely on paired case studies and an original bank-level dataset to provide evidence for my theory and against "constant cause" rival explanations. My analysis contributes to a broader literature on the political economy of finance by examining an understudied tool of government financial management and yields implications for G-Pub formation in the 21st century.

Case-Ruchala, Devin, Julia Morse, and Mark Nance. “Signal, Noise, or Something In Between: Unpacking the Impact of FATF Listing on Bank Decision-Making.”

Scholars in recent years have documented an explosion of measures that rate and rank countries on a wide range of topics. This quantification of policy evaluation aims to drive policy change through a variety of material and immaterial channels. Evaluators may hope to create reputational costs or engage a “name and drain” process where financial flows are used to generate leverage for domestic reform. Blacklists in particular may be an effective way of creating such “market enforcement” processes. The impact of country indicators, lists, and other types of performance assessments on financial flows ultimately depends on how financial decision-makers integrate such metrics into their cost and profit calculations. We look specifically at the case of the Financial Action Task Force (FATF) and its use of black- and grey lists that are designed to diffuse international standards on anti-money laundering and counter-financing of terrorism (AML/CFT). We draw on insights from heuristics research to better specific the conditions under which the FATF lists affect financial flows into and out of a country.  In identifying these trends, we hope to better understand the conditions under which banks and other actors make decisions using the FATF lists, and others like them, as heuristics.   

Case-Ruchala, Devin and Melina Tobías. “Think locally, act globally? Public banks, regional finance, and the multi-level governance of water and sanitation provision in Buenos Aires, Argentina.” (Book chapter). This research is part of a broader book project, Public Banks + Public Water, organized by the Municipal Services Project, funded by a Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council Canada Insight Grant, and headquartered at the Global Development Studies department at Queen's University. See here for a primer on the broader Public Banks + Public Water research project.

The 2015 UN Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) outline climate-related socioeconomic measures to be achieved by 2030. SDG 6 calls for the expansion of clean water and sewage services, both as a matter of climate policy and to fulfill the UN's declaration of water as a human right. Meeting this goal, among the other SDGs, will require significant financing, as reflected in the 2015 Paris Climate Agreement's statement that fulfilling the SDGs will require “making finance flows consistent with a pathway towards low greenhouse gas emissions and climate-resilient development”. States’ commitments to these international agreements are occurring amidst a global trend towards public control of water and sanitation services, as well as a growth in the use of public banks to serve as such financing pathways towards these ends. We examine how public banks are being deployed to support public water financing in the case of Buenos Aires, Argentina. Specifically, we focus on a unique loan that uses results-based conditional disbursements issued in 2019 from Río de la Plata Basin Financial Development Fund (FONPLATA), a regional multilateral development bank, and the state-owned water company, Agua y Saneamientos Argentinos S.A. (AySA; re-nationalised as of 2006). The case highlights the role of impact-oriented regional development banks as bridge between international capital and public water services in a context where the domestic public banking sector is constrained in its development financing capacities.