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Financial market actors as urban policy-makers: the case of real estate investment trusts in Brazil

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Focusing on the growth of Real Estate Investment Trusts in Brazil, the paper explores how financializing policy instruments intertwine financial markets and the urban built environment. It studies the career of REITs and questions the role of financial market capital and actors in urban dynamics. The paper uncovers three processes usually considered separately: i) how a network of public and private financial market actors coaxes state bodies into using their regulatory powers and financial resources to transform real estate into an asset class; ii) how the government-run financial market authority and banks lure urban households into liquid real estate through marketing and education campaigns; and iii) how asset managers are “applied economic geographers” insofar as they channel households’ capital into a selected cities and properties. The active role played by financial actors in the design, enhancement and implementation of such a policy instrument leads us to conclude on their role as urban policy-makers.
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Keywords: Brazil; Real estate investment trusts (REITs); financial markets; financializing policy instruments; urban dynamics

Document Type: Research Article

Affiliations: 1: Department of Geography, Universidade Federal Fluminense, Niterói/Rio de Janeiro, Brazil 2: CNRS Researcher at Laboratoire Techniques, Territoires et Sociétés, Université Paris-Est, Marne la Vallée, France

Publication date: January 2, 2019

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