SOAS University of London

Department of Economics

Bruno Hofig

BA Economics (USP – São Paulo, Brazil) MSC Economic History (USP – São Paulo, Brazil)
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Bruno Hofig
Mr Bruno Hofig
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Thesis title:
A Political Economy of Risk - Derivatives, Credit Rating and Labour's Bargaining Power in Contemporary Capitalism: the Case of the United States (working title)
Year of Study:
Year of entry: 2015-16
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PhD Research

Through a critical appropriation of the sociological studies on the recent expansion in discourses of risk, this research will investigate the relationship between the recent development of derivatives markets, the growing importance of credit rating agencies and credit bureaus, and the decrease in investment and wage levels in the United States during the last three decades. It will be argued that there exists a tendency for the development of a social disposition to regard and describe more and more possibilities and events in terms of risk in a market economy. The study then advances the hypothesis that, since credit rating agencies are highly concerned with the future ability of an issuer to make timely monetary payments, and since their ratings affect the movements of share prices, the growing importance of such agencies leads US non-financial firms to increase their relative (if not absolute) holdings of liquid assets, that is, to reduce their investment/capital ratio. The research also explores the idea that, by favouring the increase in household debts, and by creating the conditions for the widespread use of individuals’ credit scores both in interest rate calculations and in pre-employment screenings, the combined development of derivatives markets, credit rating agencies and credit bureaus gives rise to forms of rationality which lead to a lowering of labour’s organizational capacities and, consequently, to a tendency for wages to fall.



  • Political Economy
  • History of Economic Thought
  • Economic History
  • Marxist Political Economy
  • Money and finance