The Worth of Goods: Valuation and Pricing in the Economy

ISBN : 9780199594658

Jens Beckert; Patrik Aspers
360 Pages
161 x 229 mm
Pub date
Jun 2011
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How do we place value on goods - and, importantly, why? Valuation and pricing are core issues in the market economy, but understanding of these concepts and their interrelation is weak. In response, The Worth of Goods takes a sociological approach to the perennial but timely question of what makes a product valuable. Structured in three parts, it first examines value in the broader sense - moral values and how they are formed, and the relations between economic and non-economic values - discussing such matters as the value of an oil spill, the price of a scientific paper, value in ethical consumption, and imaginative value. The second part discusses the issues surrounding valuation in aesthetic markets, specifically wine, fashion models, art, and the creative industries. The third part analyzes valuation in financial markets - credit rating agencies, stock exchange markets, and industrial production. This pioneering volume brings together leading social scientists to provide a range of theoretical tools and case studies for understanding price and the creation of value in markets within social and cultural contexts and preconditions. It is an important source for scholars in economics, sociology, anthropology, and political science interested in how markets work, and how value is established.


1. Value in Markets
2. Price and Prejudice: On Economics and the Enchantment (or Disenchantment) of Nature
3. What is the Price of a Scientific Paper?
4. The Value of Ethics: Monitoring Normative Compliance in Ethical Consumption Markets
5. The Transcending Power of Goods: Imaginative Value in the Economy
6. Symbolic Value and the Establishment of Prices: Globalization of the Wine Market
7. Pricing Looks: Circuits of Value in Fashion Modeling Markets
8. Damien's Dangerous Idea: Selling Contemporary Art at Auction
9. Infinite Surprises: On the Stabilization of Value in the Creative Industries
10. Forecasting as Valuation: The Role of Ratings and Predictions in the Subprime Mortgage Crisis in the US
11. Selling Value in Kenya's Nairobi Stock Exchange
12. Coping with Contingencies in Equity Option Markets: The "Rationality" of Pricing
13. Valuing Products as Cultural Symbols: A Conceptual Framework and Empirical Illustration
14. What's Valuable?

About the author: 

Jens Beckert is Director of the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne and Professor of Sociology at the University of Cologne. He has held visiting positions at Princeton University, Harvard University, Cornell University, the European University Institute, and Sciences Po in Paris. The main focus of his research is economic sociology with a special emphasis on markets, organization studies, the sociology of inheritance and social theory. He is the author of Beyond the Market: the Social Foundations of Economic Efficiency (Princeton University Press 2002) and Inherited Wealth (Princeton University Press 2008). His articles have been published in journals such as Theory & Society, Sociological Theory, Organization Studies, and the European Journal of Sociology.; Patrik Aspers holds a PhD in Sociology from Stockholm University (2001). He has been resident at institutions such as Harvard University, Columbia University, the London School of Economics, and the Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies in Cologne. He has chaired the economic sociology research network of the European Sociological Association, and is President of the Swedish Sociological Association. The main focus of his research is on economic sociology, especially markets. He has published two books on markets: Markets in Fashion: A Phenomenological Approach (2nd. ed. Routledge 2006) and Orderly Fashion: A Sociology of Markets (Princeton University Press 2010). Aspers has written on classical economists such as Alfred Marshall and Vilfredo Pareto, and published in journals such as the Journal of Economic Geography and Theory and Society.

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