Scandinavian Working Papers in Economics
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The Economic Research Institute, Stockholm School of Economics SSE/EFI Working Paper Series in Business Administration

No 2004:6:
Att klassas som elit - finansmarknadens inbäddning i samhället

Peter Norberg ()

Abstract: The discreet charm of the stock broker: the social embeddedness of financial markets

Use of technology gives rise to impersonal relations in financial markets. Personal interaction is replaced by the cold rationality of algorithms. While working in financial markets, employees aim at being rational maximizers. This competition is balanced with a co-operative dimension. The market depends on, and is thus embedded in non-contractual elements such as morality and social capital. Custom creates the basis upon which exchange may take place and facilitates the organisation of economic activities. Trust enables us to engage in economic action. With a similar background, education, and by means of being part of one and the same culture, investors have similar values and beliefs. Actors use norms and habits that reduce the complexity of their work. Resources embedded in social relations and networks are accessed for utilitarian purposes.

Financial markets are disembedded while local contexts are replaced by a world-wide scope. Financial capitalism nonetheless becomes increasingly integrated in society, as eighty percent of the Swedish population own shares either directly or through funds. Media takes an increased interest for securities markets. The exclusivity of financial markets decreases.

Keywords: financial market; brokers; embeddedness; networks; (follow links to similar papers)

21 pages, June 1, 2004, Revised January 19, 2005

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