Akos Rona-Tas (Ph.D. University of Michigan) is Professor at the Sociology Department at the University of California, San Diego and is a Research Associate at Met@risk, INRA, Paris. He is the author of the books Plastic Money, Constructing Markets for Credit Cards in Eight Postcommunist Countries (with Alya Guseva), Great Surprise of the Small Transformation: Demise of Communism and Rise of the Private Sector in Hungary, several articles in journals including the American Sociological Review, American Journal of Sociology, Theory and Society, Socio-Economic Review, Social Science Research, Research on Sociology of Organizations, Journal of Comparative Economics, as well as various chapters in edited volumes. His current research is on credit, risk analysis and the role of scientific uncertainty in policy making.
COURSES IN SUMMER 2015
In the United States, we now take our ability to pay with plastic for granted. In other parts of the world, however, the establishment of a "credit-card economy" has not been easy. In countries without a history of economic stability, how can banks decide who should be given a credit card? How do markets convince people to use cards, make their transactions visible to authorities, assume the potential risk of fraud, and pay to use their own money? Why should merchants agree to pay extra if customers use cards instead of cash?
In Plastic Money, Akos Rona-Tas and Alya Guseva tell the story of how banks overcame these and other quandaries as they constructed markets for credit cards in eight postcommunist countries. We know how markets work once they are built, but this book develops a unique framework for understanding how markets are engineered from the ground up—by selecting key players, ensuring cooperation, and providing conditions for the valuation of a product. Drawing on extensive interviews and fieldwork, the authors chronicle how banks overcame these hurdles and generated a desire for their new product in the midst of a transition from communism to capitalism.
A few things related to my work on uncertainty and credit:
The book Socialism Vanquished, Socialism Challenged, Eastern Europe and China, 1989-2009 (eds. Nina Bandelj and Dorothy J. Solinger) is published in August 2012 by Oxford University Press, with a chapter entitled "The Rise of Consumer Credit in Post-Communist Czech Republic, Hungary and Poland."
Here you can learn more about the HolyRisk Project: Scientific Uncertainty and Food Risk Regulation.
And some related materials:Workshop on Paradigms of Risk Assessment and Uncertainty in Policy Research May 14-15, 2010
The book Networks in Social Policy Problems (eds. Balazs Vedres and Marco Scotti) is published in September 2012 by Cambridge University Press, with a co-authored chapter entitled "Dissemination of Health Information within Social Networks."
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