Politics of markets: 

Controversies, tools and policies

August 7th, 2009

(Prior to the 2009 American Sociological Association meeting)

University of California, Berkeley
IIS Conference Room
223 Moses Hall


Daniel Beunza (Columbia and London School of Economics) 

Marion Fourcade (U. of California, Berkeley) 

 Fabrizio Ferraro  (IESE Business School)

Yuval Millo (London School of Economics)

Economic sociology has a long and distinguished tradition that analyzes markets as "embedded" in political institutions and culture --from micro-level regulatory frameworks to national development projects. However, in recent years, new approaches have evolved that identify and situate politics at the ground level of markets. These approaches increasingly recognize that all actors --politicians and public officials, experts (economists, accountants, IT specialists), financial institutions, consumers, workers, marketing firms, to name but a few -- take an active part in the shaping of markets. In this conference, we will focus on the complex, dynamic ways in which markets shape and are shaped by ‘all things political’.

Conference sponsored by the Center for the Study of Law and Society, the Institute for International Studies, the Haas School of Business, the Department of Economics and the Department of Sociology (all UC Berkeley); the Department of Accounting, London School of Economics.

How to attend: Attendance to the workshop is free, but requires registration. While there is no deadline, it will only be open for as long as seats are available. To register, please contact Daniel Beunza at db2417@columbia.edu




8:45 Coffee and welcome

9.00 Welcome to participants.

Marion Fourcade

9.05 What are the "Politics of Markets"?

Daniel Beunza

9:15-10:30. The marketization of public policy 

In the last two decades, markets have played an increasingly important role in the enactment of public policies. This includes, among others, mortgage finance, the development of green energies or health care. What effects does an increasing reliance on markets have on politics? The following papers analyze governmental projects or long-term policies (local, national or trans-national), their connections with markets, and the political outcomes that emerge as a result. 

Marion Fourcade and Kieran Healy – "Economic Categories and Claims in Neoliberal Society." See abstract.

Dan Lainer-Vos – “Manufacturing National Bonds: Gift Giving, Market Exchange and the Construction of Transatlantic National Networks.” Download paper. See abstract.

Fabrizio Ferraro – “The Price of Values: Institutions, Tools, and Models in the Valuation of Social Responsibility” (joint with Daniel Beunza). See abstract.

Discussant: Stephen Barley

10:30-11:00 Coffee break

11:00-12:30 The politics of valuation

Whereas economics regards markets as self-regulating barometers of value, economic sociology looks at markets as forums for controversies over value. Controversies are a fundamental element of politics (in its more contentious manifestations, as well as otherwise), but they also are the lifeblood of financial valuation, as the presentation and resolve of contrasting opinions is the fundamental process that drives activity and liquidity. Examples include consumer activism, socially responsible investment, activist hedge funds, and even value investment or the work of securities analysts. Presentations will focus on controversies and conflicts within markets, and examine the relationship between such events and market structure and behavior.

Jan Simon “The Benefits and Perils of Connectedness: Market Mechanisms in and among Hedge Funds" (joint with Yuval Millo). Download paper. See abstract.

Alya Guseva “Income, Consumption and Credit: What Russian Lenders Need to Know." Download paper. See abstract.

Joon Nak Choi “Overembeddedness in Hedge Fund Networks and Crowded Trading.” Download paper.See abstract.

Daniel Beunza – “Reflexive Modeling and Systemic Risk” (joint with David Stark). Download paper.See abstract.

Discussant: Mark Mizruchi

12:30-2:00 Lunch (served on site)

2:00-3:30 Keynote speaker: Neil Fligstein, "A Long, Strange trip: The Role of the Government in Mortgage Securitization, 1968-2008".

3:30-4:00 Coffee break

4:00-5:30 Politics of market design: 
market regulation and intervention

The institutional design of markets has a pivotal influence on market outcomes, not least because underlying political motivations become embedded into the infrastructure of markets. Examples of this include securitization, government rescue of failing banks, the use of game theory in auction design, or the determination of property rights in science. Yet, in spite of the centrality of this dimension, the study of market design has been virtually neglected in economic sociology. The presentations analyze the effects that market and product design have on the shape and behavior of markets.

Kate Zaloom – “How to read the Future: the Yield Curve, Affect and Financial Prediction.” Download paper.See abstract.

Greta Krippner – "The Road to the Free Market: The Social Politics of U.S. Financial Deregulation." See abstract.

Marc Ventresca and Holger Sommerfeldt –  “Institutional politics and practices that redefine competitive advantage:  Evidence from clearing and settlement in European securities markets, 1991-2008.” Download paper. See abstract.

Discussant: Yuval Millo

5:30: Conference ends
Dinner for conference presenters