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 Mark Rhodes 

Professor Mark Rhodes

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How Little We Know About What We Design: Financial Markets, Efficiency and Ethics

We design financial instruments, together with the markets where they are traded, but the interaction of these markets and the participants within them often becomes very complex. The ease and costs of trading, competition between markets and the secondary effects of market activity can have consequences that were not imagined when financial products and exchanges were first designed. Does this diminish the real-world value of some financial markets? What determines whether they perform their function well? Are there conditions or circumstances where financial markets can be an active force for good?

This lecture explored how some of these markets function, how financial exchanges might compete or interact and whether we have a sufficiently developed understanding of the costs of using them. The talk will progress to consider how financial markets could support environmental or social objectives and the work that might still be needed to improve their value in this role. Concluding that in better understanding the costs and risks of financial markets we can make more informed judgements about design and regulation and serve the interests of wider society.



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