Moral and Metrological Standards In The Savings and Loan Crisis

Sophia Lee, Sociology

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 12:00pm
438 Robertson Hall
Graduate Students

LEGS, or "Law-Engaged Graduate Students," meets during the academic year to discuss a work in progress by one of our Graduate Associates. Academic papers, dissertation proposals, and dissertation chapters have been presented at these meetings, to an audience of fellow graduate students.

Abstract:  "This chapter examines how specific conceptions of accountability were institutionalized during the Savings & Loan crisis. Competing definitions of acceptable moralities and evidence from regulators, savings and loan organizations, and standard-setting bodies undergirded a rapidly transforming political and economic environment. Through the primary category used to assess solvency, “net worth,” I argue that repeated destabilizations of the term’s calculation located the responsibility to represent true value in the moment of exchange. By valuing assets based on transaction price, the burden of producing accurate assessments falls to financial actors. Broader dynamics of institutional legitimacy, market organization, and categorical boundary formation are described through the prism of accounting standards to understand how moral conceptions in post-crisis regulation formed."

Sophia Li
University of Chicago

Sophia Li is a fifth-year Ph.D. student in Sociology. Her work focuses on financial regulation, moral responsibility, knowledge-production processes, and market competition. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Statistics and Economics (with honors) from the University of Chicago.