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DRPS : Course Catalogue : School of History, Classics and Archaeology : Postgraduate (History, Classics and Archaeology)

Postgraduate Course: Malfeasance and Misbehaviour in Finance - Perceptions and Realities, c. 1500 to the Present (online) (PGHC11495)

Course Outline
SchoolSchool of History, Classics and Archaeology CollegeCollege of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences
Credit level (Normal year taken)SCQF Level 11 (Postgraduate)
Course typeOnline Distance Learning AvailabilityNot available to visiting students
SCQF Credits20 ECTS Credits10
SummaryThis course looks at historical claims of criminal or immoral behaviour by individuals and firms engaged in financial transactions, and at the misbehaviour (in the behavioural economics sense) of financial markets as a whole. The course aims to bring together concepts from financial history, economics, sociology and anthropology to investigate the evolution and persistence of financier behaviours and social attitudes towards the financial industry over the last five centuries.
Course description Together with financial history, the course introduces concepts from criminology, economics, sociology and anthropology to help investigate:
- The tension between the financial industry's claims on the value it adds to the economy and to society, and the recurring turmoil that is associated with its structures and the people who work in it.
- The tension between the public's acknowledgment of this potential value to the economy, and the resentment arising from the industry's perceived excesses.
- In a wider sense, the tension between the utilitarian and moral value of the financial world as far as the wider society is concerned.

The course employs a variety of primary sources, including financial information, press reports, pamphlets, legal and parliamentary sources, non-textual sources like cartoons, portraits, and satirical prints, fictional and autobiographical accounts, and literary journalism. Part of the assessment of the course will be presenting and discussing a primary source connected with one of the themes discussed in the course. The course is structured thematically around several categories of claimed financial malfeasance and/or misbehaviour, ranging from bubbles, mass swindles (e.g. Ponzi schemes), individual rogue and insider trading, to broader issues concerning the relationship of principals and agents, creditors and debtors, and 'free' financial markets and state authorities and regulators. There is no chronological progression in the seminars, and students will be encouraged to focus on any period they find most instructive for their project.
Entry Requirements (not applicable to Visiting Students)
Pre-requisites Co-requisites
Prohibited Combinations Students MUST NOT also be taking Malfeasance and misbehaviour in finance: perceptions and realities, 1636 to the present (ECSH10100)
Other requirements None
Course Delivery Information
Not being delivered
Learning Outcomes
On completion of this course, the student will be able to:
  1. Work thematically rather than chronologically, by synthesising historical analysis using a variety of primary sources and historiography applying across several historical periods (contained in the broad timeframe specified in the course).
  2. Think and work in an interdisciplinary manner, bringing in concepts and methodologies from disciplines other than History where necessary (e.g. Sociology, Law, Economic, Anthropology).
  3. Independently locate, evaluate and employ useful primary sources.
  4. Independently identify historical questions that are not adequately answered in the historiography; or that are still part of unresolved historiographical controversy; or have been left unanswered altoghether up to this point.
  5. Employ the primary sources identified in Outcome 3 in answering thehistorical questions identified in Outcome 4
Reading List
M. Frunza, Introduction to the theories and varieties of modern crime in financial markets

G. Robb, White-collar crime in Modern England: Financial fraud and business morality, 1845-1929

L. Neal, A Concise History of International Finance

K. Ho, Liquidated

C. W. Calomiris and S. H. Haber, Fragile by Design: the political origins of banking crises and scarce credit

H. Manne, 'In Defense of Insider Trading', Harvard Business Review, Nov-Dec 1966, 113-122

R. Schotland, 'Unsafe at any price: A reply to Manne, Insider Trading and the Stock Market', Virginia Law Review, 53, 7 (1967), 1425-1478.

M. Freeman, R. Pearson & J. Taylor, Shareholder Democracies: Corporate governance in Britain and Ireland before 1850

P. Johnson, Making the Market: Victorian Origins of Corporate Capitalism

J. Go, Political Power and Social Theory, vol 7:
F. Dobbin & D. Zorn, 'Corporate Malfeasance and the Myth of Shareholder Value', pp 179-198.
* M.S. Mizruchi & H. Kimeldorf, 'The Historical Context of Shareholder Value Capitalism', pp. 213-221

J. Hoppit, Risk and Failure in English Business 1700-1800

C. Kindleberger, Manias, Panics, and Crashes: a history of financial crises
Additional Information
Graduate Attributes and Skills Not entered
KeywordsNot entered
Course organiserDr Paul Kosmetatos
Tel: (0131 6)50 3838
Course secretaryMrs Lindsay Scott
Tel: (0131 6)50 9948
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