Taylor Spears Headshot

Chancellor Fellow

Roles and Responsibilities

  • Deputy Director, MSc in Finance, Technology and Policy

Background

  • PhD in Sociology — University of Edinburgh, 2014
  • MSc (with distinction) in Science, Technology and Innovation Policy SPRU at the University of Sussex, 2010
  • BS (summa cum laude) in Economics (major concentration) and Mathematics (minor concentration) — Arizona State University, 2008

Research Taxonomy

Research Interests

Please see my Google Scholar profile for a list of my publications.

I’m broadly interested in how the development of new technologies and calculative practices contributes to the transformation of organizations and institutions, particularly within the financial markets. I’m especially interested in understanding how clusters of financial modelling practices – i.e. modelling cultures – emerge and are reproduced within banks and other financial institutions, and how these cultures both enable and constrain financial organizations’ capacity to manage risk.

In the past, much of my work in this area has focused on the markets for derivatives contracts that are traded on an ‘over-the-counter’ basis. For instance, jointly with Donald MacKenzie in the School of Social and Political Science, I have done work on the historical development and use of the Gaussian copula, a model that played a prominent role in the financial crisis of 2008. A more recent paper of mine focuses on how the assumptions embedded within financial models that banks use to value interest rate derivatives engendered and reinforced a cultural and organizational separation between staff within the ‘front’ and ‘back’ offices of banks prior to the 2008 financial crisis. I argue that this cultural separation helped engender liquidity in the interest rate derivatives markets by simplifying the problem of valuation, but also put banks at risk by creating an opportunity for arbitrage during the crisis for market participants who could exploit these assumptions.

Research Area

Publication Type Actions