Ref n°82: The future of financial exchanges
Traditionally, stock markets have been accorded a key role in the financial system of any market economy. Their function, as classically defined, is to provide a single space, either physical or virtual, where the supply and demand for finance from different economic agents can meet: where the demand of companies seeking finance is matched to the supply of capital from private or institutional investors. Meanwhile, market members mediate the flows of demand and supply, and the regulatory authorities set rules and oversee the correct functioning of the market.
Recently, however, stock markets have found themselves the focus of public, and political, debate as to the social desirability of different models for economic development. Two main factors seem to underlie this sudden resurgence of interest by public opinion. First, a sharp rise in the proportion of direct or indirect shareholders among the general population has brought with it greater public awareness of the issues. Second, the radical technological changes and rapid internationalisation of markets has given them a major role in the increasing trend towards economic globalisation. Both these trends are ongoing and look set to continue, or accelerate, in the future.
This special edition of the Revue d’économie financière presents a number of aspects of financial exchanges. The contributions show the importance of the subject and the variety of issues at stake. This edition of the Revue d’économie financière also contains information, opinions and analyses which provide an insight into the issues of this essential debate.
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Revue d'économie financière : ISSN 1777-5744