Når fortællinger påvirker adfærd: En analyse af fortællingers indflydelse på optimismen forud for den seneste finanskrise

Marie Westhausen Gottlieb

Student thesis: Diploma thesis


This thesis explores the narratives that sparked an optimism leading to the financial crisis in 2009. It is investigated how these narratives were partly fueling the housing bubble in the Danish real estate marked. Furthermore, the thesis examines how behavioral changes affected the population’s optimism and willingness to take financial risks. Different actors have been selected to examine how these narratives have been communicated through various channels such as TV, radio, newspapers, reports etc. The thesis presents a theoretical framework based on a modified version of the Narrative Policy Framework (NPF), called the Narrative Actor Framework (NAF). The NPF is a framework that presents a systematic, scientific approach to narrative policy analysis. As such, NPF examines the public policymaking contextualized through narratives and social constructions (Jones and McBeth 2010; Jones, McBeth, and Shanahan 2014; Pierce, Smith-Walter, and Peterson 2014; Shanahan et al. 2013). As the NPF focusses on narratives from politicians, the NAF examines narratives from all relevant actors related to the subject. By looking at different angles from various actors, the thesis sheds light on these selected narratives that potentially fueled the optimism that lead to the housing bubble and consequently the financial crisis. The analysis is performed on three levels, micro, meso, and macro, which is hypothesized, to have influenced the increasing level of this optimism. Methodologically, social constructivism is applied as a lens to examine the narratives. The empirical data used is a combination of primary and secondary data. The primary data consists of collected quotes and statements from different actors and media, whilst secondary data have been collected through books, articles and other materials related to the theoretical framework of the thesis. At the micro level, different narratives from relevant actors have been identified. At the meso level, the thesis presents several narratives that have an inter-correlated cohesion, thus showing a correlation between narrative elements, narrative strategies and beliefs. At the macro level the framework is supported by the theory of cultural capture (Hansen 2016:9; Kwak 2013) as well as Douglas North’ framework about formal and informal institutions (North 2005). Finally, the thesis discusses the categorization of villains, heroes and victims. The findings of the thesis show different narratives were influencing the public’s behaviour prior to the financial crisis in Denmark. The NAF identifies several correlations between the actors’ narratives, thus indicating that narratives did affect the public optimism and behaviour. However, it has not been possible to conclude why some narratives were more dominating than others, suggesting the complexity of the theoretical field.

EducationsGraduate Diploma in Finance, (Diploma Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2018
Number of pages89
SupervisorsPer H. Hansen