About Elisabeth Brooke Harrington
Who creates change in markets and other financial institutions? My research for the past 15 years has investigated this question in a variety of empirical domains.I am an economic and organizational sociologist by training, with an empirical focus on finance. My forthcoming book for Harvard University Press concerns an elite occupational group within finance and its impact on international law and stratification. Previously, my research examined the effects of diversity and decision-making processes on the performance of investment groups. I'm interested in how things get done--what social actors actually do in their daily lives--and how that aggregates to the macro-level of financial markets, culture and political institutions. My work intersects with the literatures of political economy, anthropology, social psychology and behavioral finance.
Economic Sociology, Stratification, Financial Markets, Professions, and Gender
Honors and Awards
- Fernand Braudel Senior Fellowship: European University Institute
- Research Fellowship: Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies
- Wriston Teaching Fellowship: Brown University
- Newman Best Paper Award: Academy of Management
- OB Division Best Paper Award: Academy of Management
- Economic Sociology
- Managerial Economics
Book: Capital without Borders (5)
Wealth, Professions and Global Capital (13)
Why Tax Havens Are Political and Economic Disasters The Atlantic (2016)
This article reviews the "finance curse"--the paradox of economic, political and social decline in countries that otherwise seem to be prospering by serving as offshore tax havens. Using examples from Panama, Antigua and Luxembourg, the ...
Trusts and Financialization Socio-Economic Review (2016)
This article identifies trusts as a legal structure associated with the global spread of financialization. Although trusts originated in Medieval England, they have acquired a new significance in contemporary finance by virtue of their advantages ...
Capital without Borders: Wealth Management and the One Percent (2016)
This book draws together the findings of eight years of field research in the wealth management profession, including 65 interviews with practitioners in 18 countries. The text delves into the medieval origins of the profession ...
Going Global: Professions and the Micro-Foundations of Institutional Change Journal of Professions and Organization (2015)
This study links theories of relationality and institutional change to deepen understanding of professionals’ role in globalization. In previous institutional research, it has been conventional to treat professionals as agents of firms or transnational organizations, ...
Trust and Estate Planning: The Emergence of a Profession and Its Contribution to Socioeconomic Inequality Sociological Forum (2012)
This article offers a new perspective on the connection between socioeconomic inequality and occupations by examining the impact of trust and estate planners on global wealth stratification. While many studies treat the professions as mirrors ...
Trust and Estate Planning Max Planck Institute Discussion Papers (2009)
This paper offers a fresh perspective on the connection between professional work and socio-economic inequality by tracing the emergence of the trust and estate planning profession in America. Unlike studies of inequality and the professions ...
Financial Fraud (7)
Social Structure, Power and Financial Fraud The Global Financial Crisis and Its Aftermath: Hidden Factors in the Meltdown (2016)
This paper examines financial fraud as a manifestation of power by elites. The perspective is historical, going back to the 18th century, but the emphasis is on the 2008 global financial crisis and its sources.
The Companies We Keep: From Legitimacy to Reputation in Retail Investment Socio-Economic Review (2014)
Few studies have examined public response to unethical or illegal behavior by firms, despite some research on institutional investors, organized protest groups or shareholder activists. Although a robust research literature shows that corporations invest heavily ...
Introduction: Beyond True and False Deception: From Ancient Empires to Internet Dating (2009)
It seems fitting to follow Murray Gell-Mann’s Foreword with a story involving two other illustrious physicists. During the 1940s, Leó Szilárd—who discovered the nuclear chain reaction—decided to keep a diary of his work on the ...
Responding to Deception: The Case of Fraud in Financial Markets Deception: From Ancient Empires to Internet Dating (2009)
The economic history of the 21st century reads like a litany of Biblical plagues: instead of locusts,frogs and boils, we have Enron, WorldCom and Tyco, followed by the options-backdating scandal, and now the sub-prime mortgage ...