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One of the key innovations of modern finance is its reliance on arbitrage, the practice of taking advantage of a price difference between two or more markets to generate profits and remove inefficiencies. When done correctly, arbitrage can create value at little or no cost. But it can also be an exploitative tool.
In a September 2017 Chats in the Stacks book talk at Mann Library, finance economist Maureen O’Hara presents her newest book to offer insights into some of the business practices that form murky gray areas in modern finance—practices that may be formally legal yet are of highly questionable ethical standard. Something for Nothing takes a humanistic approach to ethics in the financial industry to examine key cases such as the Goldman Greek transaction, Lehman Brothers’ attempt to cover up its debt, JPMorgan Chase’s maneuvers in California’s energy markets, Bernie Madoff’s trading strategies in the 1980s, and toxic loans in France.
Maureen O’Hara is Purcell Professor of Finance at the Johnson Graduate School of Management, Cornell University and also Professor of Finance at the University of Technology Sydney in Australia. An expert on market microstructure, market theory and the practice of trading, she also publishes widely in banking and financial intermediaries, law and finance, and experimental economics. Prof. O’Hara has served as President of the American Finance Association, the Western Finance Association and the Financial Management Association. She has been an active member of a variety of corporate boards and has served on a number of national and international government advisory boards and task forces, including the CFTC-SEC Emerging Regulatory Issues Task Force aka the “flash crash” committee and the SEC’s Equity Market Structure A.