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MG301: Firms, Markets and Crises: Foundations in the Social Studies of Finance

Session: One
Prerequisites: A university level introductory course in sociology, anthropology, psychology, political science, management or economics.

Dr Daniel Beunza
Professor Yuval Millo
Dr Juan Pablo Pardo-Guerra

This course focuses on the financial sector and financial markets. It discusses current research in the social sciences on how this sector has emerged and operates with an emphasis on sociology. It also sheds light on the recent financial crisis, including mortgage derivatives and the sovereign debt crisis.

In each lecture, faculty will discuss a major aspect of or issue in the financial sector. The classes will use readings or cases to explore these matters in greater depth.

The course offers novel alternatives to orthodox economics and behavioural finance. This includes a social network/ embeddedness perspective that examines the role of financial intermediaries such as financial analysts. This is complemented by an institutionalist / cultural perspective on financial markets. The third primary perspective offered in the course centres on the recent research on financial markets by sociologists of science and technology, and the concept of performativity.

The framework covers key analysis components such as:

• Market formation
• Financial markets and society in a historical-organisational perspective
• Hedge funds and social networks
• The performativity of economic theory

The framework is then applied to:

• Promises and pitfalls of financial models
• Managing traders in a world of bias
• Socially responsible investment

This course should hence appeal to students interested in corporate finance, equity research, fund management, and strategy consulting.


MacKenzie, D. Material Markets. How Economic Agents Are Constructed, Oxford University Press, 2009

Lectures: 36 hours    Classes: 12 hours
Assessment: One assessed essay and one written examination