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date: 02 April 2020

Abstract and Keywords

This article uses a historical perspective to consider a topic which historical sociologists have mostly overlooked — finance. It shifts attention away from the most visible events, namely bubbles and crises, and towards underlying institutions and processes. It points out how, in its historical development, finance challenges many of the simple dichotomies used to think about the economy. The discussion focuses mostly on Anglo–American finance, foregoing many interesting and important topics. Three general points are made. First, private financial institutions have been deeply affected by public finance in a number of ways. Second, both private and public regulations have shaped finance, with effects that vary substantially over time and between different countries. Third, finance directly connects to core sociological concerns, such as the study of inequality.

Keywords: Anglo–American finance, private financial institutions, public finance, financial regulation, inequality

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