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How do Conflicting Theories about Financial Markets Coexist?

By Wesley Phoa, Sergio Focardi and Frank Fabozzi

Abstract

There are many conflicting interpretations of security prices and price determination in financial markets. They range from academic theories based on efficient markets and rational expectations hypotheses, to more traditional methods of fundamental analysis, to theories of "value" and "growth" investing, to chart-reading and technical analysis, to notions such as "reflexivity." These interpretations are logically inconsistent with each other, but they seem to co-exist, sometimes even on the same trading desk. In this paper, we seek to formulate an explanation for this strange coexistence, using some tools from critical theory to understand how financial markets operate. Structuralism is used to analyze various kinds of narratives appearing in the financial literatu

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