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On Performativity: Option Theory and the Resistance of Financial Phenomena

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  • Nicolas Brisset

    (Université Côte d'Azur, France
    GREDEG CNRS)

Abstract

The issue of performativity concerns the claim that economics shape rather than merely describing the social world. This idea took hold following a paper by Donald MacKenzie and Yuval Millo entitled “Constructing a Market, Performing Theory: The Historical Sociology of a Financial Derivatives Exchange” (2003). This paper constitutes an important contribution to the history of economic thought since it provides an original way to focus on the scientific construction of the real economy. The authors discuss the empirical success of the Black-Scholes-Merton (BSM) model on the Chicago Board Options Exchange (CBOE) during the period 1973-1987. They explain this success in part as instead of discovering pre-existing price regularities, it was used by traders to anticipate options’ prices in their arbitrages. As a result, options’ prices came to correspond to the theoretical prices derived from the BSM model. In the present article I show that this is not a completely correct conclusion since the BSM model never became a self-fulfilling model. I would claim that the October 1987 stock market crash is empirical proof that the financial world never fitted with the economic theory underpinning the BSM.

Suggested Citation

  • Nicolas Brisset, 2016. "On Performativity: Option Theory and the Resistance of Financial Phenomena," GREDEG Working Papers 2016-31, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.
  • Handle: RePEc:gre:wpaper:2016-31
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    File URL: http://www.gredeg.cnrs.fr/working-papers/GREDEG-WP-2016-31.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

    as
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    Cited by:

    1. Nicolas Brisset, 2017. "Models as Speech Acts: The Telling Case of Financial Models," GREDEG Working Papers 2017-25, Groupe de REcherche en Droit, Economie, Gestion (GREDEG CNRS), University of Nice Sophia Antipolis.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    Performativity; Black-Scholes-Merton; Self-fulfillment;

    JEL classification:

    • B23 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Econometrics; Quantitative and Mathematical Studies
    • B41 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - Economic Methodology - - - Economic Methodology
    • G12 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Asset Pricing; Trading Volume; Bond Interest Rates

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