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Value models: Finance, risk, and political economy

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  09 November 2023

Brett Christophers*
Uppsala University, Sweden
Corresponding author: Brett Christophers, Department of Social and Economic Geography, Uppsala University, Box 513, 751 20 Uppsala, Sweden. Email:
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This article develops a basic typological framework for understanding and analyzing financial risk from a political economy perspective. It is motivated by growing awareness of the contemporary significance of financial risk and by the fact that the political-economic literature on such risk currently lacks a workable heuristic. The framework distinguishes between and fleshes out what I refer to as the principal ‘value models’ of finance: fees, gains, premia, and spreads. Its primary aim is to facilitate the identification and conceptualization of: (1) the different risk configurations characterizing the heterogeneous political economy of finance; and (2) the different ways in which key stakeholders — such as finance capital, non-financial capital, and labor — come to be enrolled in such configurations. It also aims to contribute to the wider project of demystifying not just financial risk in particular but modern finance more generally.

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