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Calculating and governing risk in times of crisis : the role of credit ratings in regulatory reasoning and legal change (1930s - 2010s)

Abstract : Located at the intersection of economic sociology, financial history, and the sociology of knowledge, this dissertation examines the role of credit ratings in financial regulation, and more broadly, the role of financial uncertainties and legal incompleteness on financial actors’ anticipatory decisions. The framework set forth in this study can be summarized as follows. First, this study breaks with an intellectualist approach of public action to analyze financial regulation from the perspective of its instruments. As such, this research draws on a pragmatist agenda developed in social studies of finance and recent work in economic sociology. Second, the main hypothesis of this dissertation is to approach regulatory instruments as technologies of knowing and tools of government. From this double viewpoint, I hypothesize that the frictions generated by the two competing activities of calculating and governing impart the regulatory activity with both its structural features and historical dynamics. Third, using the example of regulatory reliance on ratings, I propose a longue durée historical analysis (1865-2010) of the regulatory activity in the U.S. and Europe through the examination of five regulatory regimes (statutory, appeal, disciplinary, fictional, and contractual). Four, one original feature of this dissertation is to combine a macroscopic analysis of regulatory change with a meticulous approach of several short historical sequences during which important regulatory innovations came into being, notably the New Deal in the U.S. and the European sovereign debt crisis. Thus, in addition to setting the contours of five regulatory frameworks, this dissertation analyses the ways in which regulators used ratings as “clutching” devices to operationalize the legal transition from one regime to another.
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Submitted on : Thursday, April 14, 2022 - 11:49:48 AM
Last modification on : Monday, October 10, 2022 - 5:54:06 PM


  • HAL Id : tel-03641363, version 1



Pierre Penet. Calculating and governing risk in times of crisis : the role of credit ratings in regulatory reasoning and legal change (1930s - 2010s). Sociology. Institut d'études politiques de Paris - Sciences Po, 2014. English. ⟨NNT : 2014IEPP0053⟩. ⟨tel-03641363⟩



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