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Modern Finance, Methodology and the Global Crisis

Author

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  • Esteban Pérez Caldentey
  • Matías Vernengo

Abstract

Modern finance has a conceptually unified theoretical core that includes the efficient market hypothesis (EMH), the relationship between risk and return based on the Capital Asset Pricing Model (CAPM), the Modigliani-Miller theorems (M&M) and the Black-Scholes-Merton approach to option pricing. The core has been instrumental to the growth of the financial services industry, financial innovation, globalization, and deregulation. The significant impact of the core is explained by their success in elevating finance to the category of a science by extracting the acquisitiveness associated with economic freedom from the workings of a free market society. This success was somewhat of a paradox. The core theories/theorems were based on wildly unrealistic assumptions and did not stand out for their empirical strength. Overcoming this paradox required a methodological twist whereby theories were devised to create rather than to interpret or predict reality. This view led to a series of financial practices that increased the fragility and vulnerability of financial institutions setting the context for the occurrence of financial crises including the current one.

Suggested Citation

  • Esteban Pérez Caldentey & Matías Vernengo, 2010. "Modern Finance, Methodology and the Global Crisis," Working Paper Series, Department of Economics, University of Utah 2010_04, University of Utah, Department of Economics.
  • Handle: RePEc:uta:papers:2010_04
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    File URL: http://economics.utah.edu/research/publications/2010_04.pdf
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Lucas, Robert E, Jr, 1980. "Methods and Problems in Business Cycle Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 12(4), pages 696-715, November.
    2. Blanchard, Olivier Jean, 1979. "Speculative bubbles, crashes and rational expectations," Economics Letters, Elsevier, vol. 3(4), pages 387-389.
    3. Shiller, Robert J, 1981. "Do Stock Prices Move Too Much to be Justified by Subsequent Changes in Dividends?," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 71(3), pages 421-436, June.
    4. Stephen J. Brown & William N. Goetzmann & Alok Kumar, 1998. "The Dow Theory: William Peter Hamilton's Track Record Reconsidered," Journal of Finance, American Finance Association, vol. 53(4), pages 1311-1333, August.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    History of Finance; Economic Methodology;

    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

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