Five years into the Great Recession, discussion and political fights continue about the right approach to international banking supervision. How to avert the next financial crisis or at the very least lessen its damage?
Given the topic’s importance, surprising little research exists on the two institutions that actually set banking standards in practice: the Basel Committee and the International Swaps and Derivatives Association (ISDA) operate at the heart of the system, setting capital requirements and standardizing derivative contracts.
Janine Wedel, Professor in the School of Public Policy at George Mason University, sets out to fill this gap. Her research takes an anthropological approach to examine the inner workings of these critical institutions. Through fieldwork and interviews, she paints a picture of informal practices and social networks that permeate international finance — an investigation into how real banking regulation is done.