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Christophers, Brett
Publications (10 of 97) Show all publications
Christophers, B., Bigger, P. & Johnson, L. (2020). Stretching scales?: Risk and sociality in climate finance. Environment and planning A, 52(1), 88-110
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Stretching scales?: Risk and sociality in climate finance
2020 (English)In: Environment and planning A, ISSN 0308-518X, E-ISSN 1472-3409, Vol. 52, no 1, p. 88-110Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The heterodox literature on financial risk has in recent years focused predominantly on how risk is distributed, and on the market instabilities and social inequalities that different risk distributions seed. Typically much less discussed is the constitution of financial risk, which is this article's concern. Drawing empirical examples from two climate financial instruments, its particular interest is in the changing scale - social, spatial and temporal - of the "risk pools" associated with different financial products: the populations across which the products in question serve to aggregate underlying risk. The article explores how, against a historical backdrop of four decades of scale compression in the shape of risk individualization under neoliberalism, certain novel climate financial products seemingly indicate a contrary stretching of the risk pool. The article critically examines sovereign catastrophe insurance pools and green (climate) bonds, highlighting both the significance of the stretching that they effect but also the tensions and limits apparent in this emergent dynamic.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
SAGE PUBLICATIONS INC, 2020
Keywords
Climate change, scale, risk, climate finance, sociality
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-403241 (URN)10.1177/0308518X18819004 (DOI)000506433500010 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01694
Available from: 2020-01-28 Created: 2020-01-28 Last updated: 2020-01-28Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2019). A tale of two inequalities: Housing-wealth inequality and tenure inequality. Environment and planning A
Open this publication in new window or tab >>A tale of two inequalities: Housing-wealth inequality and tenure inequality
2019 (English)In: Environment and planning A, ISSN 0308-518X, E-ISSN 1472-3409Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The growing significance of housing to wealth inequality in Western societies is now well recognised and widely debated. This paper argues that understanding of the nature and causes of this problem and discussions of potential approaches to addressing it through progressive policy responses are both hampered by adopting a partial perspective on the housing question. Focusing singularly on ownership – how it has been idealised and subsidised, how it might be democratised and so forth – has led to scholars and policymakers tending to neglect the other main tenure form, in strict relation with which ownership always exists both materially and discursively: rental. We can neither understand why and how today’s asset-based inequalities have materialised nor plot realistic and meaningful policy responses unless we conceptualise and approach ownership and rental relationally. Using the United Kingdom and Swedish cases as exemplars, and examining how relevant national policy realities and logics have been constructed over time, the paper further argues that the emergence of significant asset-based inequalities in recent decades is rooted in the policy-driven emergence of significant inequalities – ideological as much as economic – between tenure forms, whereby ownership has increasingly been privileged over rental. If Western societies are to have any credible prospect of reducing existing property asset-based inequalities, preventing those inequalities from being reproduced within younger generations and limiting the likelihood of the re-emergence of comparable inequalities in the future, (re)instituting principles and practices of tenure equality should be made a primary political and policy objective.

National Category
Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-399628 (URN)10.1177/0308518x19876946 (DOI)
Available from: 2019-12-13 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2020-02-06Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2019). Environmental Beta or How Institutional Investors Think about Climate Change and Fossil Fuel Risk. ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOGRAPHERS, 109(3), 754-774
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Environmental Beta or How Institutional Investors Think about Climate Change and Fossil Fuel Risk
2019 (English)In: ANNALS OF THE AMERICAN ASSOCIATION OF GEOGRAPHERS, ISSN 2469-4452, Vol. 109, no 3, p. 754-774Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

It is widely recognized that to limit the long-term extent of global warming and its socioecological consequences, the world must transition over future decades to a low- or zero-carbon economy. Among the many imponderables relating to this eventual transition is the role of the principal owners of the fossil fuel companies that are primarily responsible for global greenhouse gas emissions-namely, institutional financial investors. The investment behavior of these institutions will substantively shape not only the speed and nature of the economy and society's transition to cleaner energy sources but also the speed and nature of the global financial system's own parallel transition to a low- or zero-carbon world. In the wake of the global financial crisis of 2007 to 2009, governments and regulators around the world are increasingly concerned that the latter transition might represent a major potential source of future financial instability. These authorities are calling on institutional investors to effect an orderly and measured transition by fully recognizing the climate-related risks of investment in fossil fuel companies and pricing these risks appropriately. Yet they are doing so in the absence of informed, up-to-date, and meaningful knowledge of how the investment community actually thinks about climate change and fossil fuel risk. This article maps out the key lineaments of this thinking on the basis of an extensive program of interviews with global investment institutions. Contra government and regulator hopes and expectations, this thinking indicates that fossil fuel investment is set to be a long-term locus of excess, not minimal, financial market volatility: of environmental beta.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019
Keywords
climate change, financial risk, fossil fuel companies, institutional investors
National Category
Social Sciences Interdisciplinary
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-383147 (URN)10.1080/24694452.2018.1489213 (DOI)000465043800004 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01694
Available from: 2019-05-13 Created: 2019-05-13 Last updated: 2019-05-13Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. & O'Sullivan, D. (2019). Intersections of inequality in homeownership in Sweden. Housing Studies, 34(6), 897-924
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Intersections of inequality in homeownership in Sweden
2019 (English)In: Housing Studies, ISSN 0267-3037, E-ISSN 1466-1810, Vol. 34, no 6, p. 897-924Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Inequalities relating to ownership of housing have become a major issue de jour in many Western societies. This article examines how the distribution of homeownership in Sweden relates to two factors widely seen as significant to such inequalities, namely parental tenure status and place of birth. We use longitudinal registry data to examine the bearing of these two factors on individual-level tenure progression since the beginning of the 1990s for persons at different stages of their housing careers. We extend existing understandings of Swedish homeownership patterns by demonstrating that inequalities relating to place of birth and parental tenure intersect with one another in ways that substantially advantage certain subgroups while disadvantaging others, and by demonstrating that experiences of entry into homeownership have in recent years been changing in markedly different ways for these different subgroups. Overall, Swedish homeownership inequalities, far from dissipating, appear to be hardening along existing lines.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
ROUTLEDGE JOURNALS, TAYLOR & FRANCIS LTD, 2019
Keywords
inequality, homeownership, housing tenure, social theory
National Category
Sociology (excluding Social Work, Social Psychology and Social Anthropology)
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-391947 (URN)10.1080/02673037.2018.1495695 (DOI)000476895700001 ()
Available from: 2019-08-28 Created: 2019-08-28 Last updated: 2019-08-28Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2019). Putting financialisation in its financial context: Transformations in local government-led urban development in post-financial crisis England. Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, 44(3), 571-586
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Putting financialisation in its financial context: Transformations in local government-led urban development in post-financial crisis England
2019 (English)In: Transactions of the Institute of British Geographers, ISSN 0020-2754, E-ISSN 1475-5661, Vol. 44, no 3, p. 571-586Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

The burgeoning geographical literature on the financialisation of urban development has focused predominantly on the growing importance within this sphere of financial markets, motives, and institutions. This article starts from the observation that in examining such financialisation, scholars have paid insufficient attention to the details of the financial contexts within which it takes place. Through a consideration of certain high-profile ongoing transformations in the property strategies of English local authorities, the article argues that we need to put urban financialisation - in this case, state-led variants thereof - in its financial context: it needs to be understood as a response, at least in part, to specific financial conjunctures. After several decades of effective withdrawal, many local authorities have assumed a resurgent role in urban property ownership and development in recent years, and especially since the global financial crisis. This resurgence is apparent, albeit selectively, in regard to both commercial and residential property. On the one hand, local authorities have been rebuilding portfolios of investment (i.e., non-operational) commercial property; on the other hand, they have been building new homes, typically not for social rent, through arms-length housing companies. I argue that understanding these trends requires appreciation of local authorities' particular financial circumstances in the "post-crisis" era - their operation at the intersection of devolved austerity, reformed housing finance, and unconventional monetary policy - and of the constraints and opportunities that these circumstances shape.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
WILEY, 2019
Keywords
England, financial crisis, financialisation, housing, local government, urban development
National Category
Business Administration Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-393328 (URN)10.1111/tran.12305 (DOI)000478642600014 ()
Available from: 2019-09-27 Created: 2019-09-27 Last updated: 2019-09-27Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2019). Seeing. In: Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50. Wiley-Blackwell
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Seeing
2019 (English)In: Keywords in Radical Geography: Antipode at 50, Wiley-Blackwell, 2019Chapter in book (Other academic)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Wiley-Blackwell, 2019
National Category
Human Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-399630 (URN)
Available from: 2019-12-13 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2020-04-02Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2019). The allusive market: insurance of flood risk in neoliberal Britain. Economy and Society, 48(1), 1-29
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The allusive market: insurance of flood risk in neoliberal Britain
2019 (English)In: Economy and Society, ISSN 0308-5147, E-ISSN 1469-5766, Vol. 48, no 1, p. 1-29Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Launched in 2016, Flood Re is a government-supported scheme for flood-risk insurance in Britain that is intended to pave the way towards an eventual 'free' market featuring risk-reflective pricing. This paper introduces the concept of 'the allusive market' to denote the figurative work that the market vision performs in this context. Alluding to the merits of what is in reality a highly implausible market-based future for flood insurance releases the government from having to substantively address intractable problems associated with the financial risk of flooding in the present: the market will come to the rescue. A risk-management crutch, the allusive market engenders contemporary policy paralysis, occasioning in turn the worsening of the very problems that the market is being relied upon, eventually, to resolve.

Keywords
markets, flood risk, insurance, pricing, neoliberalism, Britain
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-382673 (URN)10.1080/03085147.2018.1547494 (DOI)000463819500001 ()
Funder
Swedish Research Council, 2015-01694
Available from: 2019-05-07 Created: 2019-05-07 Last updated: 2019-05-07Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2019). The problem of rent. Critical Historical Studies, 6(2), 303-323
Open this publication in new window or tab >>The problem of rent
2019 (English)In: Critical Historical Studies, ISSN 2326-4462, Vol. 6, no 2, p. 303-323Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

With rentier dynamics playing an increasingly central role in the economy across much of the advanced capitalist world, critiques of rent, the rentier, and rentierism have been gathering a head of steam. For the majority of critics of rentierism, it appears that the central problem of rent, and the reason we should be critical of it, is that it represents "unearned" income. In this critical reflection, I question this critique and, in its place, advance an alternative conceptualization of the problem of rent, centered not on the degree to which rent is or is not "earned" but rather on the monopoly power that the rentier, by her nature, enjoys, and which, I argue, substantially accounts for two of rentier capitalism's negative features: low levels of innovation and high levels of worker exploitation.

National Category
Economics
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-399627 (URN)10.1086/705396 (DOI)000499226300006 ()
Available from: 2019-12-13 Created: 2019-12-13 Last updated: 2019-12-20Bibliographically approved
Barnes, T. & Christophers, B. (2018). Economic Geography: A Critical Introduction. Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Economic Geography: A Critical Introduction
2018 (English)Book (Refereed)
Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Hoboken, NJ: Wiley-Blackwell, 2018
Series
Critical introductions to geography
National Category
Economic Geography
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-368341 (URN)9781118874288 (ISBN)978-1-118-87433-2 (ISBN)
Available from: 2018-12-04 Created: 2018-12-04 Last updated: 2019-03-21Bibliographically approved
Christophers, B. (2018). Financialisation as Monopoly Profit: The Case of US Banking. Antipode, 50(4), 864-890
Open this publication in new window or tab >>Financialisation as Monopoly Profit: The Case of US Banking
2018 (English)In: Antipode, ISSN 0066-4812, E-ISSN 1467-8330, Vol. 50, no 4, p. 864-890Article in journal (Refereed) Published
Abstract [en]

Different economic measures afford different ways of seeing processes of financialisation. In the prototypical case of the US economy, the most compelling evidence of post-1970s financialisation is found in corporate profits measures. This much has been clear for at least a decade. What remains much less clear, however, is the explanation for the long-term maintenance and amplification of extreme financial-sector profitability that financialisation in the United States has and continues to entail. With a specific focus on banking, this article turns to post-Marxian scholarship on profit rate trends to explain this phenomenon. It argues that limited and declining levels of competition within the US banking sector during recent decadesrooted in high levels of industry concentration, collusive behaviour, and substantial entry barriershave contributed to sustaining and boosting abnormal sectoral profitability. In doing so, the article theorises financialisation in the United States explicitly in terms of monopoly profit.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
John Wiley & Sons, 2018
Keywords
financialisation, United States, profit, competition, monopoly, capitalism
National Category
Business Administration
Identifiers
urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-364900 (URN)10.1111/anti.12383 (DOI)000440899700003 ()
Available from: 2018-11-12 Created: 2018-11-12 Last updated: 2018-11-12Bibliographically approved
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