Donald MacKenzie A Material Political Economy: The High-Frequency Trading of US Shares

22 September 2017

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 examined the elaborate ‘dances’ of trading algorithms and the ‘signals’ (patterns of data) that shape those dances.

MacKenzie revealed the feature of the US political system that underpins ‘futures lead’, and examined how a mundane material phenomenon, rain, influences algorithms’ dances.

Donald MacKenzie is a professor of sociology at the University of Edinburgh. His books 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.

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