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  MPIfG Öffentlicher Vortrag | Public Lecture

Donnerstag, 12. Juni 2014 | 17 Uhr (s.t.)

Credit Ratings, Quantification, and Modern Economic Governance

Bruce Carruthers, Northwestern University



Credit ratings play a key role in contemporary financial markets and figured prominently in the financial crisis of 2008. They are widely used by investors, have been incorporated into financial regulations, and are included in the private contracts that underpin the over-the-counter derivatives market. Yet how they became so important is not well understood. The lecture examines the historical origins of credit rating and why they spread. It also considers how ratings were created, in a process whereby creditworthiness is measured and quantified.

Bruce G. Carruthers is the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Professor of Sociology at Northwestern University, and the current president of SASE. He is spending this academic year at the WZB Berlin Social Science Center.


Selected publications
  • Money and Credit: A Sociological Approach (with Laura Ariovich; Polity Press 2010).
  • Partisan Politics and the Welfare State: Recent Advances in the Literature (with Terence C. Halliday; Stanford University Press 2009).
  • City of Capital: Politics and Markets in the English Financial Revolution (Princeton University Press 1996).
  • From Uncertainty Toward Risk: The Case of Credit Ratings (Socio-Economic Review 11(3): 525-551, 2013).
  • Diverging Derivatives: Law, Governance and Modern Financial Markets (Journal of Comparative Economics 41(2): 386-400, 2013).
  • Historical Sociology of Modern Finance (The Oxford Handbook of the Sociology of Finance, edited by Karin Knorr Cetina and Alex Preda; Oxford University Press 2012).


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