Values in Finance

“Values in Finance” is a research project in the area of philosophy of economics. It entails a detailed methodological assessment of finance models and theories through the lens of key theories in the philosophy of science, social science and economics regarding scientific values, explanation, and use of models. In addition, it contributes to debates regarding the future of scientific research in finance, especially with regards to non-epistemic value concepts related to sustainability and inclusive prosperity.

Involved Researchers

This is an interdisciplinary research project, founded by researchers of the Dynamics of Inclusive Prosperity Initiative.

Dr. Conrad Heilmann - Erasmus School of Philosophy

  • Conrad’s research focuses on two main themes: fairness and finance. He aims at developing a comprehensive theory of fairness that tells us how to be fair. Applying this theory to the notion of fair profit sharing, fair trade, and fair distribution of wealth more generally will yield critical insights for inclusive prosperity. He also explores how finance models explain. Which ethical and epistemic values are and should be at play in finance modeling and theory? Answering these questions will contribute to our understanding of inclusive prosperity. Besides these themes, he is also interested in various topics in the philosophy of social science. These topics include scientific measurement and expertise, behavioural policy (such as nudging), procrastination, decision-making about the future, and sustainability.

    Conrad Heilmann – Associate Professor Faculty of Philosophy

Dr. Marta Szymanowska - Rotterdam School of Management

  • Marta is studying the relation between financial markets and the real economy with a particular focus on global commodity markets. Her work within the initiative has two strands. Both focus on the role of finance in fostering inclusive prosperity. In the first strand, she studies how financial markets can deal with macroeconomic shocks. For instance large commodity price swings that could jeopardize sustainable food production or the stability of emerging economies. In the second strand she studies how the epistemic and non-epistemic values (i.e., ethical or environmental) in finance research translate into finance industry that facilitates prosperity (e.g., promotes CSR, financial inclusion). Despite being highly theoretical, academic research in finance has direct and significant practical implications.

Melissa Vergara Fernández - Erasmus School of Philosophy

  • Melissa has a degree in Economics from Universidad de Los Andes, in Bogotá, Colombia and a PhD in Philosophy from Erasmus University Rotterdam. Her main research interests are in modelling as a scientific practice, particularly in macroeconomics. At the Initiative she is working with Marta Szymanowska and Conrad Heilmann on the philosophy of science of financial economics. Specifically, she is working on understanding the methodological choices made in the use of financial economics models and the epistemic and practical consequences thereof.

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