Snack-sized stories about finance

June 24, 2014

It’s hard to understand the technical details of finance.

It’s even harder to write them down.

Over the last couple of years, I’ve been trying to figure out how we can make research about technical things more accessible to each other. As editor of LSE’s Risk & Regulation Magazine I’ve had a chance to put myself in the shoes of the reader.

When I’m looking at drafts for R&R I think of each two-page feature as a single-serving portion. Which parts are most delicious and crunchy?  Which parts are too sticky, crumbly, runny…? I dream of research summaries that leave people with that special feeling you get when you walk away from a great new snack – your curiosity’s satisfied, but you wish there was just a little more at the bottom of the bag.

One unusual feature of R&R is that it’s produced by LSE’s talented team of in-house graphic designers. Once the text is nailed down, we pull together an original layout that amplifies the author’s argument or the emotional tone of the research. I hope others will agree that visual images can help people engage with topics that might not otherwise catch their attention. At least two of our author have found their R&R piece useful for public engagement. Jonathan Metzel had his piece linked to on the msNBC website, and the FT linked to a contribution by Annelise Riles.

My favorite part of the design process is creating the print edition’s cover. Upon request, our lead designer Liz Mosley has made a chess piece out of a horse and grinder and put a Victorian teacup inside a firebox…! I can’t help but laugh whenever I see our conversations materialized in her images. Designers like Liz have a tremendous skill for translating words into pictures.

Our latest issue of R&R is dedicated the thorny issue of financial innovation. It was released online earlier today, so please have a look when you get a chance! And for the special community of this blog, you’ll find all the articles I’ve produced for R&R that relate directly to social studies of finance, with links, after the jump. A special thanks is due to the friends who are such good sports for letting me miniaturize their work. I’m truly delighted by this little collection of experimental ‘ssf’ snacks.

Issue 27, Risk & Regulation Magazine, Full Issue.


Writing options on futuresÉlie Ayache remembers the first options contracts traded through the Matif in Paris in the 1980s.

DSK Stands For Self-Discipline. Benjamin Lemoine discusses the intimate relationship between state financial instruments and the politics of public debt.

Spread Betting 101. Claire Loussouarn explains how a gambling instrument became a popular and mainstream investment product in the UK.

Our Trust in Pension Funds. Sabine Montagne examines Europe’s trust in the U.S. model of financing retirement.

The Evolution of Nowhere BankingAnastasia Nesvetailova explains why we need more research on financial innovation.

Do-It-Yourself Retirement. Author Helaine Olen reports from New York.

The UK’s sky high holiday pricesVassily Pigounides exposes the social consequences of a pricing technology called revenue management.

Managing Regulatory ArbitrageAnnelise Riles walks us through a conflict of laws approach to financial regulation.

Reeling in Gambling RevenueNatasha Dow Schüll explains the growing dependency between US state governments and digital slot machine technology.

Fighting over financial modelsTaylor Spears examines some of Basel III’s moving parts.

When the sleep of regulation produces monsters. Matthias Thiemann explains how shadow banking benefits from the structural separation of global and national financial regulators.

Turning Around French BankruptciesSophie Vermeille and Frank-Adrien Papon discuss the proposed changes to French bankruptcy law.


2 Responses to “Snack-sized stories about finance”

  1. Stefan Leins Says:

    Reading the R&R Magazine is always a big pleasure. Thanks for putting so much effort into this, Martha!

  2. marthapoon Says:

    Thanks for reading Stefan. We should be so lucky to get a story about Swiss gnomes and secrecy…!

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