Welcome to Simone Polillo's webpage.

I am an economic sociologist interested in money (not so much in making it, but I accept donations). I subscribe to the view that capitalism is an inherently conflictual system, that capitalist conflict is always moralized, and that markets are the sworn enemy of capitalists. I teach in the Department of Sociology at the University of Virginia.

My first book is titled Conservatives Versus Wildcats: A Sociology of Financial Conflict (2013, Stanford University Press). It develops a typology of banking and argues that the struggle between organizations embodying different banking strategies is the source of money's value. 

A joint project (with Brad Pasanek), dealing with money, and more specifically with the history of the concept of liquidity, led to a special issue of the Journal of Cultural Economy. Routledge published it in January 2013 as a book. If you have $140 to spare, knock yourself out here.

Other works in progress include a series of empirical papers on generalized trust, and in particular its relationship with globalization; a set of theoretical and empirical papers on finance; and theoretical work on the sociology of the self (with Erika Summers-Effler).


New paper on financial economics

posted Jun 2, 2015, 8:53 AM by Simone Polillo

Why does the Efficient Market Hypothesis win out over competing ways of modeling financial markets? Answering this question requires an understanding of how creativity, collaboration, and communication work within the field of financial economics. Here's one possible way of looking at it.

My review of Carlo Tognato's work now available in the British Journal of Sociology.

posted Mar 24, 2014, 8:11 AM by Simone Polillo   [ updated Mar 25, 2014, 5:43 AM ]

Tognato's dramaturgical theory dramatically enhances (no pun intended) our understanding of the macro-determinants of economic behavior. This is an excellent contribution to economic sociology.

My Review of Kevin Delaney's Money at Work in Social Forces

posted May 17, 2013, 11:28 AM by Simone Polillo   [ updated May 17, 2013, 11:29 AM ]

Very nice book, I recommend it

Interview on WTJU

posted Apr 30, 2013, 3:57 PM by Simone Polillo

For a short (about 10 minutes) interview on Conservatives Versus Wildcats, aired on April 25th, click here. The quality of the questions was impressive!

Conservatives Versus Wildcats has a Facebook Page.

posted Apr 24, 2013, 10:14 AM by Simone Polillo   [ updated Apr 24, 2013, 10:14 AM ]

Conservatives Versus Wildcats is out! Read a press release.

posted Apr 22, 2013, 6:37 AM by Simone Polillo

This appeared last week on UVa Today. Enjoy!

New Working Paper on Prestige in Financial Economics

posted Feb 27, 2013, 11:57 AM by Simone Polillo   [ updated May 2, 2013, 4:44 PM ]

In this paper, I use an original dataset of 95 prestigious financial theorists to assess the relative strengths/weaknesses of performative approaches to finance economics. Find it here. And here's an abstract:

Constructing Financial Innovations: Performativity and Prestige in Financial Economics

This paper investigates the diffusion of financially innovative ideas, not by looking at the spread of individual financial practices, but rather by analyzing the intellectual realm where such ideas acquire prestige: financial economics. Using a dataset of 95 financial theorists, it shows that while some theorists have indeed succeeded in gaining intellectual recognition for innovations that find direct application in financial markets, as scholars focusing on the performativity of economics would predict, the more important pathway involves the exploitation of what Collins and Guillén (2012) have recently dubbed “mutual halo effects:” eminence builds up across generations and in terms of linkages between successful people. Training at Chicago appears to be an important source of innovative success, and the paper discusses why this is the case. The conclusions show how an understanding of financial economics as a field that turns its interdisciplinary origins into a professionally closed field (Whitley 1986b) invites new questions about the sources of its success, in particular its influence over how universities invest their endowments.

Debate on Relational Work at Orgtheory

posted Sep 8, 2012, 10:06 AM by Simone Polillo   [ updated May 2, 2013, 4:45 PM ]

Very useful debate on the value-added that relational approaches bring to economic sociology over at orgtheory.org. Viviana Zelizer kindly mentions my work in a post, in the context of discussing macro-oriented relational work. Check it out!

ASA 2012

posted Aug 15, 2012, 2:42 PM by Simone Polillo   [ updated Feb 21, 2015, 9:41 AM ]

I will be presenting a paper at the 2012 ASA meetings in Denver: "International Trade and the Fiscal Capacity of the State." You can find the link to a draft by clicking on the title. Let me know what you think!

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