Category Archives: Institutional

What is XBRL, and Who does XBRL help?

Put it on your radar screens, the next big thing is going to be XBRL. It stands for extensible business reporting language, and it is meant to commensurate business reporting via standardization. So instead of entering text into an annual report, companies, governments, NGOs, anyone who would like to comply with governmental mandate will be […]

Black Swans, Risk Management, and Undersea Cables

I’ve taken issue before with Nassim Nicholas Taleb’s black swan thesis, that high-impact, low-probability events are responsible for market crises and accidents. The more general implication is, as Taleb and Pilpel note: What matters in life is the equation probability × consequence. This point might appear to be simple, but its consequences are not. Suppose […]

Is qual/quant hybridity possible?

Jeremy Grantham, principal of GMO, makes an interesting point about quants in his 4th quarter letter to investors (free registration required): The good old days of the domination of the first generation quant models, where you simply show up with three concepts – value, momentum, and discipline – are over. But, even more critically and, […]

Another name for random. Or luck.

An anthropologist attempts to explain variation in how investment banks fared in the current credit crisis. Gilian Tett argues that three elements account for it: 1) successful firms have hands-on management (meddlers); 2) successful firms have management who rose through the ranks via trading desks rather than sales or legal; 3) successful firms have a […]

Two forms of institutions

I’ve been thinking a lot about institutions lately, in light of my earlier post on check-lists and medical practices. I originally had in mind a post about how the Berger and Luckmann version of institutionalization at the more marco-level is about the crystallization of practices. So what check-lists are theoretically are the same as other […]

History of Risk

Summary: An investigation into the history of risk as an economic concept and the origins of economic risk as part of the institutionalization of futures trading in the latter half of the 19th century US. Conceived with Marc Ventresca, this research shows how risk became a solution to a political (not economic) problem: how to […]