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Regulatory technologies, risky subjects, and financial boundaries: Governing ‘fraud’ in the financial markets

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  • Williams, James W.

Abstract

Among the myriad changes to have impacted the regulation of financial markets in recent years, one of the most significant yet least recognized is the growing role of technology in the regulatory process where it is used to detect emerging problems in the marketplace and guide the enforcement process. Current applications range from surveillance technologies, to datamining and risk profiling tools, to data visualization and graphing programs. Using the term ‘regulatory technologies’, this paper examines in detail two such technologies and assesses not only their benefits and limitations, but also their more subtle role in shaping the very criteria through which financial transactions and market actors are represented, framed, and assessed for their regulatory merit. To the extent that this process hinges on the ability to make distinctions on the grounds of risk, typicality, and appropriateness, these technologies play a critical role in shaping the boundaries of enforcement and thus the scope and depth of the regulatory vision. This is revealed to have significant implications for our understanding of the place of technology in regulation and for the types of questions that must be addressed in discussions of financial governance.

Suggested Citation

  • Williams, James W., 2013. "Regulatory technologies, risky subjects, and financial boundaries: Governing ‘fraud’ in the financial markets," Accounting, Organizations and Society, Elsevier, vol. 38(6), pages 544-558.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:aosoci:v:38:y:2013:i:6:p:544-558 DOI: 10.1016/j.aos.2012.08.001
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