Skip to main content

Please enter a keyword and click the arrow to search the site

What drove the financial crisis? Structuring our historical understanding of a predictable evolutionary disaster


Business History


Strategy and Entrepreneurship

Authors / Editors

Jacobides M G

Publication Year



1 What drove the financial crisis? Structuring our historical understanding of a predictable evolutionary disaster1 Michael G Jacobides, London Business School Business History – February 5, 2014 This paper revisits the 2008 financial crisis, considering how we can draw on the historical record to reappraise what created the problems and inform theory. It looks in detail at neglected factors such as the nature of the selection environment, the agency of actors, and the influence of structure. On the basis of that evidence, as well as the premise that feedback, rather than foresight, drives behavior, we reach new conclusions on what drove the crisis, and open up an exciting opportunity for historical methods to inform theory. This challenges current policy in terms of the idea of “Too Big To Fail” and the focus of regulation; it also helps us revisit the lessons that we should take from this crisis, taking us away from macro-economic factors and individual malfeasance towards structure. Overall, the analysis suggests that a historical, institutional and evolutionary analysis, based in theory, can add a fresh perspective.

Available on ECCH


Select up to 4 programmes to compare

Select one more to compare
subscribe_image_desktop 5949B9BFE33243D782D1C7A17E3345D0

Sign up to receive our latest news and business thinking direct to your inbox


Sign up to receive our latest course information and business thinking

Leave your details above if you would like to receive emails containing the latest thought leadership, invitations to events and news about courses that could enhance your career. If you would prefer not to receive our emails, you can still access the case study by clicking the button below. You can opt-out of receiving our emails at any time by visiting: or by unsubscribing through the link provided in our emails. View our Privacy Policy for more information on your rights.