Category Archives: Markets

Transparency and financial prices

I want to talk about dark pools of liquidity, but to do so, I need to first talk about financial markets and how prices work. Bear with me for the background. The dark pools post is coming. Prices in financial markets are not like prices in other kinds of markets. When you buy gas, you […]

If you don't trust the seller, don't buy the product!

First of all, kudos to McClatchy’s news service for running a slew of articles critical of Goldman Sachs during this financial crisis. The firm displays a disastrous combination of connectedness and high prestige on the one hand, and unconscionable financial practices on the other. They are not at all alone, or even the worst, but […]

The state of the economy

The current state of the economy, mostly financial, and I’m feeling pretty bleak about it. I’m looking at a few indicators, and I’m not particularly impressed with what I see.

more nudging

Here is another one from the series of Volkswagon’s ‘fun theory’ design projects, this one a bottomless garbage can to induce people to throw away trash: The whole shebang is worth noting, for its effects on behavior and its bigger-issue demonstration of the contextualization of rationality. Plus, honestly, it’s a fun video. I don’t know […]

Objective Value in Markets

I have written about the experiment going on at Significant Objects before. They buy things at garage sales and thrift stores, make up stories about the objects, and then sell these objects on eBay, with the stories attached as the objects’ descriptions. The premise is that “the object should — according to our hypothesis — […]

quantitative commensuration

Part of my talk this coming week is a criticism of the turn from commensuration to quantification. In particular, one of the striking comparisons between (auction) art markets and financial capital markets is the extent to which art specialists decry quantification. As specialists gain more experience, they are more willing to say that their valuations […]

Where have you gone, structured finance?

One of the more interesting question post-meltdown (do we even still call it that? we really need a name for the ‘financial events of 2007-2008’) is whether structured finance is, for all intents and purposes, dead. Structured finance is the general term that includes the securitization of debt. These vehicles go by names like Asset-backed […]

Bank holding company? An i-bank? Goldman Sachs

Congress is starting to ask questions about the ways Goldman Sachs measures risk, considering their supposed switch from an investment bank to a bank holding company. And they should. Plus, I think I was wrong about GS paying its profit-makers.

High frequency trading, markets, exchanges

Three thoughtful posts from Martha, Daniel, and Yuval comment on the NYT article about Goldman Sachs’ high-speed trading unit. The rather critical article suggests that high-speed trading is the latest way to exploit innovation at the expense of everyone else, to the tune of $21 Billion in 2008. This issue is not new as such, […]

The literature, markets, accessibility, expertise

From an excellent practical handbook on writing, Howard Becker’s Writing for Social Scientists: Scholars learn to fear the literature in graduate school. I remember Professor Louis Wirth, one of the distinguished members of the Chicago school, putting Erving Goffman, then a fellow graduate student of mine, in his place with the literature gambit. It was […]