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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Comprehending and regulating financial crises: An interdisciplinary approach

  • Author(s): Bandelj, N
  • Elyachar, J
  • Richardson, G
  • Weatherall, JO
  • et al.

© 2016 by The Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The 2008 financial crisis revealed that key players in finance, regulation, and the academy failed to understand realities outside their own area of expertise. Within the academy, scholars from an increasing number of disciplines study finance, and yet few of them seem to be in conversation. Perhaps understandably, given the complexity of a phenomenon such as “financial crisis,” no single discipline has yet offered an adequate analysis of what happened in 2008, or what could help prevent another such systemic threat to the economy. In this article, we argue that developing more effective capacity to comprehend and regulate financial markets requires an interdisciplinary approach that moves beyond pluralism and tolerance of other approaches. Rather, in-depth critical engagement with the underlying assumptions, methods, and findings across fields of research and practice is needed. To advance this argument, we discuss four specific, connected intra-disciplinary projects in progress, and show how key assumptions underlying approaches in each are revealed and revised through systematic engagement with other fields.

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