In terms both of its scale and severity, the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–2008 was the most damaging financial crisis to affect the world economy since the Great Depression of the 1930s. Many major financial institutions around the world collapsed or had to be bailed-out by governments. Global trade was also severely hit and a large number of national economies went into deep recessions. In the view of many economists and politicians, one of the main reasons why the fallout from the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–2008 proved to be so damaging was down to the fact that the global financial system had, in the years prior to the crisis, simply become too complex. This increased complexity, it is argued, proved to be especially damaging in the aftermath of the 2007–2008 crisis not only because it led to increased levels of contagion, but also because it made it more difficult for governments and regulators to intervene effectively.

This edited volume contributes to these ongoing debates by bringing together some of the top academics from the US and UK in the disciplines of Law, History and Economics to look in more depth at the historical and institutional aspects of the relationship between financial crises and systemic complexity. Conceptually, it is motivated by three main questions: 1) Is the present financial system more complex than in the past and, if so, why? 2) To what extent and in what ways does the worldwide financial crisis of 2007–2008 differ from past financial crises? 3) How can governments, regulators and businesses better manage and deal with increased levels of complexity both in the present and in the future?

It is the intention of the editors that this collection will not only encourage greater interdisciplinary debate, but also to be of use to policy-makers and legislators in their efforts to come up with more resilient ways of managing and dealing with increased levels of risk, both in the present and in the future. As such, we are particularly keen for contributions that deal with any of the following issues:

  • Directors’ duties and the role of shareholders in financial regulation
  • Government regulation, with a particular emphasis on moral hazard
  • The extent to which financial crises are an inevitable consequence of free-market banking systems
  • How changes in the size and scale of the US and UK banking sector have affected financial stability
  • The impact of economic fundamentals on financial instability, with a particular focus on speculative manias and investment bubbles
  • Differences in government responses to financial crises over time
  • The differences between legal and economic understandings of financial property and corporate control
  • Technological innovation and change, with a particular emphasis on changing payment and trading systems
  • ‘Short-termism’ and high-risk trading in financial markets
  • Transformations in the US and UK banking sector, particularly as regards the relationship between commercial and investment banking
  • The relationship between ownership structure and systemic crises
  • Changes in accounting practices and financial reporting procedures

The initial proposal for this edited volume has been already been officially accepted by Edward Elgar for publication in 2015 and confirmed confirmations have been accepted from a number of prominent academics in both the UK and the US. However, we still have a limited amount of space within which to fit a couple more contributions.

Submissions should be in the form of a 1–2 page chapter proposal (750 words max), clearly explaining the objective of the proposed chapter and the reasons why it is relevant to the issues covered in this collection. In addition, we also ask that all potential contributors submit a brief and up-to-date CV outlining their past work and previous achievements. The deadline for initial chapter proposals is 1 July 2013, but we both welcome and encourage potential contributors to submit before this date. All chapter proposals should be emailed in Word or PDF form to: