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date: 01 October 2020

Abstract and Keywords

Much of the historical development of financial markets was framed by a type of technological change captured under the rubric of automation. Accordingly, this article provides a historical-sociological sketch of the drivers, manifestations, and possible consequences of automation in financial markets. In providing what is an admittedly partial sketch, it captures recent insights of the sociological literature on the place of technology in finance, arguing that financial markets are intelligible only if both their micro- and macrostructures are framed in the language of sociotechnical dynamics. The article is organized as follows. First it briefly reviews the concepts of technology and automation in finance. It highlights the different drivers and spheres in which automation occurs. It then describes how automation occurred in the different spheres of financial practice, from settlement and clearing to trade execution. Finally, it offers thoughts on the scope of financial automation in the future.

Keywords: finance, financial automation, financial markets, technological change

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