Finance and gambling in early modern Europe or why Arrow-Debreu can be fun

December 25, 2010

Hedge fund managers playing poker and investment gurus using their skills in casinos are part of the contemporary mythology surrounding the world of finance. This makes it surprising that when Merton listed the functions performed by financial markets and institutions he did not include a very important one: entertainment. Had he considered early modern Europe, the striking resemblance between a casino and a stock exchange would certainly not have eluded him.

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December 20, 2010

OK I haven’t understood how it works yet, but I’m already having a hell lot of fun with Google’s Ngram (thanks Sarah).

View of the world

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my desk

December 13, 2010

Self promotion

December 10, 2010

I’m trying to become a keen wikipedian. So here are the articles I’ve contributed to so far.

The bank of Scali

Institutional investors

Chronology of European banking (in French, article still not up to standards will be working on it).

The economy of Corsica (in French, already a few years old, should be updated).

Economic history (in French, section on proto-industry)

The Vatican dinosaur

July 17, 2009

Ceiling of Sistine Chapel

Michelangelo’s frescoes in the Sistine Chapel – the ceiling and the Last Judgement – are amazing works of art, designed to cause awe and rightfully considered as some of the jewels of human ingenuity. These paintings have been hailed as revolutionary on a technical and aesthetic point of view. However despite all their amazing qualities these amazing pieces are also oversized anachronisms, almost the last of their kind. Not too dissimilar from the last great dinosaurs.

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Cheesy business

March 12, 2009


I am presently in Morocco for research purposes. As the things were getting a bit slow in the last few days due to the public holiday meant to celebrate the birthday of the Prophet, I decided to indulge in my geekiness and I undertook a micro research. I am fascinated by the elegance of economic geography; I enjoy watching the market spread in space as much as others like to watch birds; so that’s just what I did, my Excel sheet in one hand and my binoculars in the other (for the birds, you never know). Read the rest of this entry »

For sex, not money: promiscuity and urban migration in West Africa

January 18, 2009

Here is the pdf of a paper I presented last month. It is the first time I tried to mix sociobiology method and social sciences subject so please be merciful. It is not yet history since the subject is contemporary, but I hope soon to have the time and opportunity to do the same kind of work with European historiacal data.


Seasons and history

April 7, 2008

This is my first post dedicated to… well… me. I’ll try not to bother too often with those, but I need to put my ideas in order.

As far as I can tell (my knowledge is limited) the problem of seasonality has pretty much been ignored by economic historians. At best it took a paragraph to deal with it here and there, but year-on-year trends have always received more attention. Yet it is quite obvious that seasonality is a very interesting subject that could shed a new light on topics such as pre-modern growth, living conditions, etc. Read the rest of this entry »