Risk Culture in China: An Economic Sociology

This project brings a sociological perspective to the study of world economy and finance. It is a study of incomplete financial markets and not fully developed financial institutions in China. This will be studied with reference to a comparison with the UK. The applicants will draw on the sociology of risk and complexity. The study has a particular focus on 'risk cultures'. It comprises, not aggregate data analysis but a focus on - interconnected - case studies of six organisations in China and the UK. Each of these organisations will have a particular risk culture. This specific risk culture is a function of an 'organisational memory' that is unique to a given institution or company. This memory, and hence the particular risk culture, will be a factor of the history of an organisation's encounters with its financial environment. The organisations are: (1) a Hong Kong investment bank specialising in technological media, (2) Shanghai's leading property developer, (3) The Canary Wharf Group, (4) The Shanghai and Pudong Development Bank, (5) The Hong Kong Exchange, (6) HSBC's China operations. The applicants have done exploratory work in and already have partial access to these organisations. There is a focus on investment in particular in property and technological media, areas in which the applicants have a research track record. The study of risk cultures will comprise a large element of political risk, as we track a series of international investment projects with a high degree of state interaction. The research addresses the emerging institutional forms that are central to the ESRC programme's concerns with advancing our understanding of ways in which financial markets and financial policies influence major global issues. The research will develop understanding of capital mobility and its relationship to institutional and economic development, the relationship between finance and growth, and cross-country variation in institutional quality.

Working Papers

2008 Stock Markets and the Race to the Bottom: “Stuck” in China
Tyler Rooker

Prof Scott Lash
Prof Michael Keith
Goldsmiths, University of London

Dr Jakib Arnoldi
University of Munich

Prof Scott Lash
Centre for Cultural Studies (CCS)
Goldsmiths, University of London
SE14 6NW

Tel: 020 7979 7982

Duration of Research:
April 2006 - March 2009