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The theory of reflexivity: A non-stochastic randomness theory for business schools only?

Author

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  • Ehnts, Dirk
  • Carrión Álvarez, Miguel

Abstract

The Alchemy of Finance, a book written by George Soros (1987) on the workings of financial markets, 'has found a place in the reading lists of business schools as distinct from economics departments', according to the author (2003, 4). His theory of reflexivity, which is at the center of the book, states that interdependence exists between the cognitive and manipulative functions of market participants. While Soros claims that imperfect knowledge rules on financial markets, academic orthodoxy assumes perfect knowledge and hence displays - in the absence of external shocks - financial markets as efficient. We review the work of Soros on reflexivity and follow up his claim that it can be used to attack the efficient market hypothesis. Both are discussed and then the ideas of Soros are compared to those of Post-Keynesian economics. We argue that Soros' book is mainly ignored by neo-classical economists because they disagree with his axioms, and by heterodox economists because his ideas are not new.

Suggested Citation

  • Ehnts, Dirk & Carrión Álvarez, Miguel, 2013. "The theory of reflexivity: A non-stochastic randomness theory for business schools only?," IPE Working Papers 28/2013, Berlin School of Economics and Law, Institute for International Political Economy (IPE).
  • Handle: RePEc:zbw:ipewps:282013
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    2. Tobin, James, 1969. "A General Equilibrium Approach to Monetary Theory," Journal of Money, Credit and Banking, Blackwell Publishing, vol. 1(1), pages 15-29, February.
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    9. Sergey V. Chernenko, 2004. "The information content of forward and futures prices: market expectations and the price of risk," International Finance Discussion Papers 808, Board of Governors of the Federal Reserve System (U.S.).
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    efficient market hypothesis; theory of reflexivity; George Soros;

    JEL classification:

    • B26 - Schools of Economic Thought and Methodology - - History of Economic Thought since 1925 - - - Financial Economics
    • D8 - Microeconomics - - Information, Knowledge, and Uncertainty

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