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A Market for Weather Risk ? Conflicting Metrics, Attempts at Compromise and Limits to Commensuration


  • Isabelle Huault

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)

  • Hélène Rainelli-Weiss

    (DRM - Dauphine Recherches en Management - Université Paris Dauphine-PSL - PSL - Université Paris sciences et lettres - CNRS - Centre National de la Recherche Scientifique)


In this paper, we examine the process of risk commodification involved in the creation of a market for weather derivatives in Europe. We approach this issue through an in-depth qualitative study in which we focus on the commensuration process by which promoters try to draw weather risk into the financial world. By offering a concrete description of a derivatives market as a meeting place between different metrics, our results highlight the failure of a process of commensuration - a phenomenon rarely studied empirically in the literature - and its unexpected results. Compared to existing research, we use the theoretical framework provided by Boltanski and Thévenot (2006) to enrich the literature on commensuration specifically as regards the different forms of agreement to which commensuration attempts can lead. Our results highlight the crucial role of a common interest for commensuration to succeed, and the conditions necessary for this common interest to occur. We conclude that there are limits to the thesis of financial theory, according to which all kinds of risk can be transformed into financial risk, and exchanged on financial markets.

Suggested Citation

  • Isabelle Huault & Hélène Rainelli-Weiss, 2011. "A Market for Weather Risk ? Conflicting Metrics, Attempts at Compromise and Limits to Commensuration," Post-Print halshs-00637068, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:halshs-00637068
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    References listed on IDEAS

    1. Isabelle Huault & Hélène Rainelli-Le Montagner, 2009. "Market Shaping as an Answer to Ambiguities," Post-Print halshs-00340046, HAL.
    2. repec:dau:papers:123456789/263 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Emiliano Grossman & Emilio Luque & Fabian Muniesa, 2006. "Economies through transparency," CSI Working Papers Series 003, Centre de Sociologie de l'Innovation (CSI), Mines ParisTech.
    4. Harry Markowitz, 1952. "Portfolio Selection," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 7(1), pages 77-91, March.
    5. Daniel Beunza & David Stark, 2004. "Tools of the trade: the socio-technology of arbitrage in a Wall Street trading room," Industrial and Corporate Change, Oxford University Press, vol. 13(2), pages 369-400, April.
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    Cited by:

    1. Isabelle Huault & Hélène Rainelli-Weiss, 2013. "Is transparency a value on OTC markets? Using displacement to escape categorization," Working Papers halshs-00927090, HAL.
    2. Cova, Bernard & Ivens, Björn Sven & Spencer, Robert, 2021. "The ins and outs of market shaping: Exclusion as a darkside?," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 124(C), pages 483-493.
    3. Bertrand, Jean-Louis & Parnaudeau, Miia, 2019. "Understanding the economic effects of abnormal weather to mitigate the risk of business failures," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 98(C), pages 391-402.
    4. Hélène Rainelli Weiss & Isabelle Huault, 2016. "Business as usual in Financial Markets? The creation of incommensurables as institutional maintenance work," Post-Print hal-01275254, HAL.
    5. Isabelle Huault & Benjamin Taupin, 2012. "Les fondements moraux d’une logique institutionnelle. Contestation, controverses et stabilité," Post-Print hal-01637436, HAL.
    6. Bertrand, Jean-Louis & Brusset, Xavier & Chabot, Miia, 2021. "Protecting franchise chains against weather risk: A design science approach," Journal of Business Research, Elsevier, vol. 125(C), pages 187-200.
    7. Vern L. Glaser & Peer C. Fiss & Mark Thomas Kennedy, 2016. "Making Snowflakes Like Stocks: Stretching, Bending, and Positioning to Make Financial Market Analogies Work in Online Advertising," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 27(4), pages 1029-1048, August.
    8. repec:hal:journl:hal-00782455 is not listed on IDEAS
    9. Isabelle Bouty & Marie-Léandre Gomez & Carole Drucker-Godard, 2013. "Maintaining an Institution : The Institutional Work of Michelin in Haute Cuisine around the World," Working Papers hal-00782455, HAL.
    10. Diane-Laure Arjaliès & Rodolphe Durand, 2019. "Product Categories as Judgment Devices: The Moral Awakening of the Investment Industry," Organization Science, INFORMS, vol. 30(5), pages 885-911, September.
    11. Å tulec, Ivana & Petljak, Kristina & Naletina, Dora, 2019. "Weather impact on retail sales: How can weather derivatives help with adverse weather deviations?," Journal of Retailing and Consumer Services, Elsevier, vol. 49(C), pages 1-10.
    12. Chenhall, Robert H. & Hall, Matthew & Smith, David, 2013. "Performance measurement, modes of evaluation and the development of compromising accounts," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 51294, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    13. Julie Labatut & Germain Tesnière & Eva Boxenbaum, 2015. "The role of evaluation devices in the creation of new institutions: breeding contracts under the “genomic” era in animal genetics [Le rôle des dispositifs d'évaluation dans la création de nouvelles," Post-Print hal-01135352, HAL.
    14. Bouty, Isabelle & Gomez, Marie-Léandre & Drucker-Godard, Carole, 2013. "Maintaining an Institution: the institutional work of Michelin in haute cuisine around the world," ESSEC Working Papers WP1302, ESSEC Research Center, ESSEC Business School.

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    commensuration; compromise; derivatives market; risk commodification; social studies of finance;
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