The Transformation of Mortgage Finance and the Industrial Roots of the Mortgage Meltdown
The 2007-2009 financial crisis was centered on the mortgage industry. This paper develops a distinctly sociological explanation of that crisis based on Fligsteinâ€™s (1996) markets as politics approach and the sociology of finance. We use archival and secondary sources to show that the industry became dominated by an â€œindustrialâ€ conception of control whereby financial firms vertically integrated in order to capture profits in all phases of the mortgage industry including the production of financial products. The results of multivariate regression analyses show that the â€œindustrialâ€ model drove the deterioration in the quality of securities that firms issued and significantly contributed to the eventual failure of the firms that pursued the strategy. We show that large global banks which were more involved in the industrial production of U.S. mortgage securities also experienced greater investment losses. The findings challenge existing conventional accounts of the crisis and provide important theoretical linkages to the sociology of finance
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