European Research Council Grants
The goal of the proposed research program is to understand how personal and market experiences affect financial decisions made by households, such as savings behavior, portfolio allocation, borrowing decisions, mortgage choices, and pension savings.
RDRECON combines theory and evidence with an empirical research strategy that is comprised of both natural and field experiments.The theoretical component models how households make decisions. The empirical component uses both econometric and experimental methodologies to study actual household behavior across a range of economic and financial margins, as well as the influence of personal and market experiences on a household’s financial choices.
RDRECON’s strength and path-breaking innovation is its combination of administrative register data and controlled field experiments to form treatment and control groups of interest which allow empirical identification of theoretical predictions. This approach puts theory to work and overcomes the limits of identification in natural experiments. To this end, RDRECON will further our understanding of how households respond to personal and market experiences, and provide helpful insights for policy makers.
Present-day financial markets are turning algorithmic, as market orders are increasingly being executed by fully automated computer algorithms, without any direct human intervention. Although algorithmic finance seems to fundamentally reshape the central dynamics in financial markets, and even though it prompts core sociological questions, it has not yet received any systematic attention. In a pioneering contribution to economic sociology and social studies of finance, ALGOFINANCE aims to understand how and with what consequences the turn to algorithms is changing financial markets.
The overall concept and central contributions of ALGOFINANCE are the following: (1) on an intra-firm level, the project examines how the shift to algorithmic finance reshapes the ways in which trading firms operate, and does so by systematically and empirically investigating the reconfiguration of organizational structures and employee subjectivity; (2) on an inter-algorithmic level, it offers a ground-breaking methodology (agent-based modelling informed by qualitative data) to grasp how trading algorithms interact with one another in a fully digital space; and (3) on the level of market sociality, it proposes a novel theorization of how intra-firm and inter-algorithmic dynamics can be conceived of as introducing a particular form of sociality that is characteristic to algorithmic finance: a form of sociality-as-association heuristically analyzed as imitation. None of these three levels have received systematic attention in the state-of-the-art literature. Addressing them will significantly advance the understanding of present-day algorithmic finance in economic sociology. By contributing novel empirical, methodological, and theoretical understandings of the functioning and consequences of algorithms, ALGOFINANCE will pave the way for other research into digital sociology and the broader algorithmization of society.
Who writes the rules for the governance of the world economy? The Professions in International Political Economies (PIPES) project is concerned with how professional actors compete in public and private arenas to provide solutions to policy problems. This project provides an original framework to understand how actors in professions shape global economic governance in a manner that commonly ignores public-private distinctions. Rather than conforming to public-private or national-international distinctions, actors create networks through their professional skills. From this context, networks of actors form strategies that link their profession to others to dominate how particular policy problems should be understood.
Actors in professions form coalitions and alliances to protect their power and prestige, as well as to create consensus on how to treat policy problems and what represents world’s best practice. Since actors never really have control over how ideas are interpreted they must strategize in an ongoing fight for control over how certain problems should be understood. PIPES is concerned with mapping how professions fight over how to solve policy problems across a range of issue-areas in the world economy where there is a change in economic practices and markets. These are divided into four areas of governance: finance; health; capacity building; and the environment. Among others, topics to be studied include risk management technologies in finance, low fertility problems in the OECD, and the development of carbon ratings markets. The PIPES research team employs a mixed methods approach that combines qualitative structured and focused comparisons from primary evidence (interviews and primary documents) and participant observation, as well as quantitative analysis through network and content analysis of professional associational contexts. PIPES will also use Case Study Integrity Fora to facilitate knowledge exchange between scholars and practitioners.
The objective of ITEPE is to develop a socio-legal theory explaining the institutional transformations from corporatism over neo-corporatism to governance and the role of law and legal instruments within the three types of institutions. The period of investigation covers the period between 1850 and today and is limited to the European setting. The core hypothesis is that corporatism, neo-corporatism and governance fulfil identical societal functions under altered structural conditions insofar as they are simultaneously oriented towards the internal stabilisation of economic processes and the establishment of compatibility with non-economic segments of society. The successful fulfilment of this dual function is furthermore conditioned upon a reliance on formalised legal frameworks.
The project specifically wishes to provide an alternative to the a-historical nature of contemporary governance research; counter the lack of a dynamic perspective within the ‘varieties of capitalism’ approach; offset the reductionist stance of political economy studies as reflected in the narrowing of economy and society relations to the binary relationship between economy and politics; develop a theoretical framework capable of connecting a wide range of hitherto disperse academic discourses such as governance research, political economy and socio-legal studies; provide a central contribution to a new inter-systemic theory of society. The project contains detailed case studies in relation to the development of institutional stabilisation within the European automobile, steel and pharmaceutical sectors.