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"Why Hasn’t High-Frequency Trading Swept the Board? Shares, Sovereign Bonds, and the Politics of Market Structure": Donald MacKenzie, University of Edinburgh, School of Social and Political Science
MaxPo-CEE Joint Seminar

When: Friday, September 6th, 2019, 12:30-14:30
Location: Salle Jean Monnet, ground floor, 56 rue Jacob 75006 Paris, CERI
Discussant: Angelo Riva, European Business School and Paris School of Economics

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Donald MacKenzie is Professor in the School of Social and Political Science at the University of Edinburgh. His current research is on the sociology of markets, focusing on automated trading. Previous topics of research range from the sociology of nuclear weapons to the meaning of proof in the context of computer systems critical to safety or security.
Paper abstract
In today’s trading of liquid financial instruments, there are two main contending agencements (in Callon’s ‘actor-network’ sense of combinations of humans and nonhuman elements that manifest distributed agency): one agencement yokes together automated high-frequency trading (HFT) and open, anonymous electronic order books; the other is organized above all around the distinction between ‘dealers’ and ‘clients.’ This talk, which will draw upon interviews with 316 market participants (encompassing all the main classes of highly liquid financial instrument, and both Europe and the US), will discuss differences in the relative presence of the two agencements.
The talk will examine in particular the processes that have given rise to especially sharp differences between the trading of shares and of sovereign bonds, and between the trading of the latter in the US and Europe. MacKenzie will conclude that the sociological literature on trading (especially on HFT) needs expanded to encompass what can be called ‘the politics of market structure’, and, more generally, needs to pay far greater attention to the state and its agencies; symmetrically, there is a need for a stronger focus in political economy on materiality.
MacKenzie’s talk will be based on a paper written jointly with Iain Hardie, Charlotte Rommerskirchen, and Arjen van der Heide.
Discussant: Angelo Riva
Dean of research, European Business School
Private professor of finance, European Business School
Affiliate professor, PSE-Ecole d'Economie de Paris
Angelo Riva's research interests: Architecture of financial systems, long-run evolution of financial systems, financial databases, digital social sciences, financial regulation, stock exchange industry organization, market microstructure, financial crisis; banking; banking crisis; financial history, geography of finance, sociology of finance.
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