By analyzing why English local governments have made extensive use of long‐term market loans with embedded derivatives, this paper seeks to contribute to the growing literature on local government financialization. Using an original, large‐N panel dataset for the period from 1998 to 2014, we show that the configuration of the local political economy is an important driver of financialization processes: a Labour Party majority as well as fiscal and economic stress make it more likely that councils adopt risky financial instruments. As the use of financial innovations has also diffused geographically, policy diffusion impacts local governments as well. Highlighting the conditional effect of finance sector power, which only increases the use of financial innovations in very large councils, as well as the temporal dimension of fiscal and economic stress, we create ample avenues for further research.
diffusion finance power financialization local governments partisan politics