The structure of confidence and the collapse of Lehman Brothers

Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part A

ISBN: 978-0-85724-205-1, eISBN: 978-0-85724-206-8

ISSN: 0733-558X

Publication date: 9 July 2010

Abstract

On September 15, 2008, Lehman Brothers filed for bankruptcy and nearly caused a meltdown of the financial system. This article looks at the situation before Lehman went bankrupt and how this event came to trigger a financial panic during the fall of 2008 and early 2009. Two key ideas inform the analysis. The first is that what triggers financial panics are typically hidden losses. The second is that confidence plays a key role in financial panics and that confidence can be conceptualized as a belief that action can be based on proxy signs, rather than on direct information about the situation itself.

Citation

Swedberg, R. (2010), "The structure of confidence and the collapse of Lehman Brothers", Lounsbury, M. and Hirsch, P.M. (Ed.) Markets on Trial: The Economic Sociology of the U.S. Financial Crisis: Part A (Research in the Sociology of Organizations, Vol. 30 Part A), Emerald Group Publishing Limited, Bingley, pp. 71-114. https://doi.org/10.1108/S0733-558X(2010)000030A007

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Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2010, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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