Closed project

Ethics and Finance

- Closed project -
From risk models to the regulation of society

Ethical issues are a topic of societal discussion that finance must now be a part of, particularly since the latest crises. The research chair's aim is to establish intellectual debate between professionals, researchers and the general public. Current work to examine the ethics of financial instruments covers the ethics of financial regulation and the study of institutional developments.

Main activities
  • Monthly seminar " Éthique et finance : les nouveaux enjeux" (Ethics and finance: new challenges), FMSH, Université Paris 1 Panthéon-Sorbonne, organised by C. Walter, E. Picavet and A. Cot.
  • Second series of the monthly seminar " Régulation et risque" (Regulation and risk) with M. Frunza, P. Blanqué, P.-Ch. Pradier, L. Fontaine, A. Preda and P. Turmel, Th. Philipponat.
  • Colloquium " La volatilité : un objectif de régulation financière ? " (Volatility: a goal of financial regulation?) organised by H. Rodarie and C. Walter, in partnership with SMA-BTP (19 November).
  • International colloquium "Basic Rights, Relational Ethics and Financial Constraints", organised by P. Turmel and E. Picavet (26-27 November).
  • C. Walter, "Les deux quantifications de la théorie financière. Contribution à une histoire critique des modèles financiers" (Two quantifications of financial theory. Contribution to a critical history of financial models), FMSH-WP-2015-89, February 2015.
  • C. Walter, "Jumps in Financial Modelling: Pitting the Black-Scholes Model Refinement Programme against the Mandelbrot Programme", FMSHWP- 2015-95, April 2015.



The financial crises of the last few decades have exposed the significant impact of finance on the real economy and on society. Yet, despite spectacular media coverage of contemporary finance, a true understanding of its ethical and social dimensions has yet to be established. To achieve this, it is necessary to examine finance, this extraordinarily complex body of theories, models, technical tools, regulations, players and professional practices. Assessing this body, examining the supposed neutrality of financial models, studying the performativity of financial techniques, understanding the changes in the tools of practice, explaining the complex role of standards and regulations, are all prerequisites for the construction of a more 'just' finance. More 'just' in both senses of the word: fair and correct.


To achieve this objective, the research chair applies a technical and multidisciplinary approach that combines a professional analysis of finance theories, models and instruments, and a significant contribution from the sciences associated with the study of standards and behaviours. It is an exceptional forum for intellectual and scientific debate for those seeking to gain a better understanding of the ethical and social dimension of contemporary finance.

2 major areas of research

Ethics of a socially responsible finance

The concept of social responsibility is now covered by Socially Responsible Investing (SRI) and Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR). The research chair seeks to extend this notion of social responsibility to finance companies.

Ethics of professional practices (professions, techniques, tools)

The financial crisis brought renewed attention to the way risk is handled in contemporary financial practices. The research chair proposes to study the way in which the requirements for ethical practices and instruments are taken into consideration in new international prudential regulations.  To understand such issues, the research chair is taking a unique approach that considers the latest work in the social sciences on the ethics and philosophy of standards and applies them to finance using actuarial science.


The research chair's seminar brings together academics from various disciplines (history, mathematics, economics, sociology, philosophy) and professionals (industry, financial sector) for discussions and debates. The research chair also organises colloquia to develop new lines of research and to explore the bounds of finance in society ("Régulation, droits et garanties" (Regulation, rights and guarantees); "Basic rights, relational ethics and financial constraints"; "L’entrepreneur face à l’incertitude" (The entrepreneur in the face of uncertainty).

The research chair uses several working methods to develop and disseminate innovative research:

  • Invitations to international researchers for short periods (1 month)
  • Post-doctorate researcher posts (one to two years)
  • Organisation of a monthly seminar for academics and professionals
  • Organisation of major interdisciplinary colloquia
  • Creation of skills training workshops

Contribution to public debate on the involvement of finance in society



Formes de vie et institutions : entre nature et artifice Enjeux, difficultés et perspectives d’un nouveau paradigme normatif


Ciné-Money | L’argent des autres (1978)


Ethical Investing and Sustainable Finance. Arguments, Norms, and Regulation


Ciné-Money | Wall Street (1987)

See all project activities
Published at 28 September 2016