Human Studies

, Volume 38, Issue 1, pp 13–35 | Cite as

Financialisation of Valuation

  • Eve Chiapello
Scholar's Symposium


This article shows that forms of analysis and calculation specific to finance are spreading, and changing valuation processes in various social settings. This perspective is used to contribute to the study of the recent transformations of capitalism, as financialisation is usually seen as marking the past three decades. After defining what is meant by “financialised valuation,” different examples are discussed. Recent developments concerning the valuation of assets in accounting standards and credit risk in banking regulations are used to suggest that colonisation of financial activities by financialised valuations is taking place. Other changes, concerning the valuation of social or cultural activities and environmental issues are also highlighted in order to support the hypothesis of a parallel colonisation of non-financial activities by financialised valuations. Specifically, the language of finance appears to gradually being incorporated into public policies, especially in Europe—and this trend seems to have gathered pace since the 2000s. Some interpretations are proposed to understand why public policies are seemingly increasingly reliant on financialised valuations.


Financialisation Valuation Public policy 



A previous version of this article was first presented in 2014 at two research seminars in Paris (LIRSA, CNAM Paris; Research Center for Capitalism, Globalization and Governance, ESSEC Paris) where it attracted a certain amount of pertinent criticism from attendees. I have had the opportunity to discuss part of this article at the “Numbers from the Bottom” workshop organized at Wiko in Berlin (March 2014) and with C. Baud and C. Walter. The comments of one anonymous reviewer and the two special issue guest editors were also very valuable. My thanks are extended to all. I am also indebted to Ann Gallon for her much appreciated editorial help.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre d’Etudes des Mouvements SociauxInstitut Marcel Mauss (UMR 8178 CNRS/EHESS)ParisFrance

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