Evaluation Practices in Financial Markets (EPIFM)
EPIFM is a €2.175 million project funded by the European Research Council that is studying how participants in financial markets evaluate (work out the economic value of) financial instruments such as shares and bonds. Our goal is to examine evaluation practices in depth and in their technological and institutional contexts.
We are investigating differences amongst how different groups of market practitioners conduct evaluation (including patterned differences that we conceptualise provisionally as ‘evaluation cultures’), and are hoping to discover the factors that shape evaluation practices, factors that we expect to include technological change, organisational processes, external regulation and the articulation between monetary evaluation and other ‘orders of worth’.
EPIFM’s methodology is predominantly qualitative, including semi-structured interviewing, fieldwork at finance-industry conferences and training courses, documentary analysis, and – where possible – direct observation of evaluation practices. Amongst the phenomena EPIFM is investigating is automated trading, in which evaluation, buying and selling are delegated to (usually ultrafast) computer systems operating without direct human intervention.
Below you will find our publications and other research outputs. This website also contains information about the project's team and how we protect the anonymity and confidentiality of our interviewees.
Working Papers and Publications
- How Algorithms Interact: Goffman's 'Interaction Order in Automated Trading, Donald MacKenzie, June 2018
- Material Signals: A Historical Sociology of High-Frequency Trading, Donald MacKenzie, May 2018, published in the American Journal of Sociology
- 'More dumb money than at any point in modern history', Donald MacKenzie, February 2018. Draft article on short selling for the London Review of Books
- Aren't They Scared? Donald MacKenzie, January 2018. Draft article on the VIX (Volatility Index) for the London Review of Books
- A Material Political Economy: Automated Trading Desk and Price Prediction in High-Frequency Trading, Donald MacKenzie, October 2016
- Must Do Better, Donald MacKenzie, May 2016. Draft article for the London Review of Books
- Dark Markets, Donald MacKenzie, June 2015. Draft article for the London Review of Books
- Spoofing, Donald MacKenzie, May 2015. Draft article for the London Review of Books
- At Cermak, Donald MacKenzie, December 2014. Draft article for the London Review of Books
- Be Grateful for Drizzle, Donald MacKenzie, September 2014. Draft article for the London Review of Books
- The Lemon-Squeezing Problem: Analytical and Computational Limitations in CDO Evaluation, Donald MacKenzie and Iain Hardie, May 2014
- The Formula That Killed Wall Street: The Gaussian Copula and Modelling Practices in Investment Banking, Donald MacKenzie and Taylor Spears, October 2013
- A device for being able to book P&L: The Organizational Embedding of the Gaussian Copula, Donald MacKenzie and Taylor Spears, October 2013
- Mechanizing the Merc: The Chicago Mercantile Exchange and the Rise of High-Frequency Trading Donald MacKenzie Oct 2013
- How to Make Banks Less Fragile Donald MacKenzie, May 2013. Draft article for the London Review of Books.