Over the past decades, the financial investment of non-financial businesses has been rising, and the accumulation of capital goods has been declining. The first part of the paper offers a novel theory to explain this phenomenon. Financialisation, the shareholder revolution and the development of a market for corporate control have shifted power to shareholders and thus changed management priorities, leading to a reduction in the desired growth rate. In the second part, the link between accumulation and financialisation is tested econometrically by means of a time series analysis of aggregate business investment for the USA, the UK, France and Germany. Extensive tests of robustness are performed. For the first three countries, evidence supporting the negative effect of financialisation on accumulation is found.

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