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King’s Chevening Distinguished Lecture 2018

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Lecture Theatre 1

Bush House, King's College London

Aldwych

London

WC2B 4BG

United Kingdom

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Professor Donald MacKenzie will present his ideas about high-frequency trading of US shares.

Ultrafast, automated ‘high-frequency trading’ or HFT now makes up around half of all US share trading. Drawing upon interviews with 54 high-frequency traders, MacKenzie’s talk will examine the ‘signals’ (patterns of data) that shape how HFT algorithms interact. He will argue that despite the high-technology glamour of autonomous, algorithmic economic agents, their behaviour is shaped by ‘political economy’ struggles — some with their origins in the 1970s — about how shares and other financial instruments should be traded.

The underlying theoretical goal is to integrate the materialism of actor-network theory with the emphasis on meso-level conflict in field-theoretic economic sociology. The talk, however, will be quite concrete. MacKenzie will, for example, explain the effect of rain on patterns of US stock prices, and reveal the mundane feature of the US political system that underpins the HFT signal (‘futures lead’) on which he will focus.

About the speaker

Donald MacKenzie is a professor of sociology at the University of Edinburgh. Professor MacKenzie has achieved high distinction in the social sciences, particularly on the sociology of financial markets and how the participants in those markets behave. His work has won several international prizes and he has been published widely in a range of publications.

Professor MacKenzie began his career with an undergraduate degree in Applied Mathematics and after his PhD published his first book, Statistics in Britain, 1865-1930: The Social Construction of Scientific Knowledge. He broadened his field of research, becoming Lecturer in Sociology at the University of Edinburgh and became Professor in 1992.

As a Fellow of the Royal Society of Edinburgh and Fellow of the British Academy in 2004, Professor MacKenzie has been widely recognised as an eminent academic and he has held visiting positions in a variety of renowned institutions such as MIT, Harvard and Sciences Po (Paris).

His work on financial markets has led to the publication of a number of internationally recognised books. These include An Engine, Not a Camera: How Financial Models Shape Markets (MIT Press, 2006) and the co-authored Chains of Finance: How Investment Management is Shaped (Oxford University Press, 2017). He writes regularly about financial markets in the London Review of Books.

Organisers

The School of Global Affairs and the King's Business School are proud to deliver the Chevening Standard Chartered Financial Services Leadership Programme, a new UK Foreign and Commonwealth Office fellowship scheme for India, aimed at mid-career financial services professionals with demonstrable leadership potential. More details on the programme can be found here.

Professor Alexandru Preda (Director), King's Business School

Dr Kriti Kapila (co-director), King’s India Institute

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Date and Time

Location

Lecture Theatre 1

Bush House, King's College London

Aldwych

London

WC2B 4BG

United Kingdom

View Map

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