Publication Details

Jones, G., Smark, C. & Abraham, A. (2012). Divergent approaches to investment: a tale of three local councils. In P. Dalziel (Eds.), Refereed Proceedings of the Australia and New Zealand Regional Science Association International (ANZRSAI) Conference (pp. 113-124). Canterbury, New Zealand: AERU Research Unit.


The Global Financial Crisis of 2008 led to a substantial write-down in the value of investments such as Collateralised Debt Obligations (CDOs) with one class of investors being NSW local councils. This paper analyses interviews with three local councils, each of which took a substantially different approach to CDO investment. It adopts the lens of Bourdieu's Theory of Practice to describe and explain behaviour regarding decisions to invest (or not) in CDOs, and how these decisions impacted on them. Interesting themes arise regarding differing views on the appropriate role of local councils, and on the degree and form of "capital" (which includes knowledge, competencies, skills and economic resources) that a council should have before investing in sophisticated financial products. The contribution of this paper is that it explores how three local councils came to quite divergent interpretations of what constitutes an "appropriate" investment and provides policy suggestions for future local council governance.

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