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Value, Conventions, and Finance

Dave Elder-Vass (2024)

In Rainer Diaz-Bone & Guillemette de Larquier (eds.), Handbook of economics and sociology of conventions. Cham: Springer, Online first

Abstract. Scholars of economics and sociology of conventions (in short EC/SC or convention theory) have taken an increasing interest in the question of how things are valued in monetary terms. How do social actors decide on the values of commodities and assets? How do their valuations affect the prices that they exchange at? And how does that impact on societies more widely? This chapter provides an overview of conventions-oriented work on monetary valuation in general but also focuses more specifically on the valuation of financial assets. Here the issues are if anything even more momentous. Financial assets, unlike most commodities, do not even exist as such unless and until they are valued. How financial valuation is achieved is thus fundamental to the financial sector. The chapter discusses work on the role of financial value entrepreneurs and the power they deploy, both in support of conventions and in order to build audiences prepared to accept their application to specific types of asset.

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