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When efficient market hypothesis meets Hayek on information: beyond a methodological reading

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... Radnitzky 1992: 224) of dispersed individual knowledge, the market liberal holds, is a competitive free-market system that utilizes the price system for aggregation of this knowledge (cf. also Epstein 2005: 205;Friedman 2013: 277;Colin-Jaeger and Delcey 2020). ...
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In this paper, we draw attention to the epistemological assumptions of market liberalism and standpoint theory and argue that they have more in common than previously thought. We show that both traditions draw on a similar epistemological bedrock, specifically relating to the fragmentation of knowledge in society and the fact that some of this knowledge cannot easily be shared between agents. We go on to investigate how market liberals and standpoint theorists argue with recourse to these similar foundations, and sometimes diverge, primarily because of normative pre-commitments. One conclusion we draw from this is that these similarities suggest that market liberals ought to, by their own epistemological lights, be more attentive towards various problems raised by feminist standpoint theorists, and feminist standpoint theorists ought to be more open to various claims made by market liberals.
Thesis
This thesis provides a historical and methodological analysis of the efficient market hypothesis, which represents one of the theoretical pillars of financial economics, but also one of the most controversial notions in the field. This research aims to shed light on the debates about this central and ambiguous concept, whose history is characterized by the diversity of its formulations and interpretations. In this thesis, I study these formulations and the contexts in which they emerged. I analyze the evolution of this hypothesis, from its origins in the 1920s to the recent transformations of the early 1980s. I interpret the efficient market hypothesis as a bridge between financial economics and economics, that is, as a concept at the heart of the identity of financial economics, but also as the main object through which this sub-discipline dialogues with the rest of the discipline. This intellectual history is structured around four articles, which discuss in detail these interactions. In the first episode, I examine the pioneering analyses of financial markets pursued by agricultural economists during the inter-war period and their influence on modern financial economics. In the second episode, I focus on the modern development of this hypothesis during the emergence of financial economics in the 1960s and on the close relationship between economists and early financial economists. The third episode explores the growing role of macroeconomists in the 1970s and early 1980s, which ultimately led to the questioning and reformulation of the hypothesis. Finally, the fourth chapter offers a methodological analysis that investigates the link between market efficiency and Hayek’s information theory. In this fourth episode, I analyze the conceptual similarities and differences between these two theories of price formation.
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