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Risky calculations: financial mathematics and securitization since the 1970s

Risikokalkulationen: Finanzmathematik und Verbriefung seit den 1970ern
[journal article]

Lengwiler, Martin


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Abstract The article investigates the history of securitization in order to analyze more general transformations in the social and political approaches towards various types of credit risks. The history of securitization reveals a long-term shift in the conventions addressed when dealing with risks. Socio-political conventions were gradually replaced by financialized, market-oriented conventions in which investors would take responsibilities and replace other actors, like the state or private corporations, which were previously involved. The first part of the article examines the epistemic and economic origins of securitization. In the second part, the analysis focuses on the golden age of securitization, from the 1980s to the mid-2000s, discussing decisive factors for its expansion. The third part reflects the role of securitization in the financial crisis of 2007/08 and debates the extent to which mathematical expertise can be made responsible for the collapsing securities market.
Keywords financial market; credit; risk; securities; transaction; investment; historical development; financial crisis; insurance; banking; quantification
Classification National Economy
Free Keywords securitization; financialization; financial mathematics; conventions
Document language English
Publication Year 2016
Page/Pages p. 258-279
Journal Historical Social Research, 41 (2016) 2
Issue topic Conventions and quantification - transdisciplinary perspectives on statistics and classifications
ISSN 0172-6404
Status Published Version; peer reviewed
Licence Creative Commons - Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works