While the heat of media attention on the financial sector has decreased over the last few years, the global crisis has not given birth to any disruptive reform of how finance is run. The need to direct financial capacities towards sustainable investments in the real economy is more acute than ever.
In March 2015, Sigma Orionis and a consortium of leading economists, financial experts and network scientists launched the DOLFINS project. Over the next three years, DOLFINS will contribute to the design of alternative financial policies through scientific evidence and citizen participation.
The first pillar of the project is to produce new scientific data and models to better understand the risks and shortcomings of the current financial system, and to evaluate the impact of past and current policies and regulations in the sector. Among other topics, the DOLFINS consortium will study the implications of endogenous money creation generated by credit, the impact of the financial institutions’ short-term focus on technological innovation, and the consequences of the growing importance of pension funds.
A second pillar of DOLFINS is that aligning finance with societal needs requires improving the democratic control over the sector and to increase citizen’s understanding – and thus power. Led by Sigma Orionis, this pillar will develop an ambitious campaign to disseminate key facts about the complex world of finance in innovative ways, and to engage citizens and the civil society into new, disruptive means of action.
The DOLFINS consortium is led by the University of Zurich/Department of Banking and Finance (Switzerland), and gathers 10 other top-level European research teams in the domains of finance, economics, mathematics, sustainability issues, network science, data mining, and behavioural economics. Three partners link the project with citizens and policy-makers: Sigma Orionis, the Young Foundation and Finance Watch.