A’Hearn B. (2005) The not-so-mighty finance

October 16, 2009

A’Hearn, Brian (2005) Finance-led divergence in the regions of Italy. Financial History Review, 12/1: 7-41.

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After the unification, the Italian South did not catch up with the North, on the contrary they engaged on a divergent path as the per capita income gap increased from 15-25% to 55% in the first 50 years (p.7). This continuing disparity may be explained by the sore state of the southern banks which could have been unable to support and finance local development (finance-led growth argument; p.9). However, initial evidence seems not to support this hypothesis, as the share of the Mezzogiorno in the banking activity of the country was in line with the relative economic weight of the region (p.10). Read the rest of this entry »


Fontaine L. (2008) When relief is worth more than a treasure

October 8, 2009

Fontaine, Laurence (2008) “Entre banque et assistance: la création des monts-de-piété”, chapter 6 in L’Economie morale. Pauvreté, crédit et confiance dans l’Europe préindustrielle. Paris : Gallimard, p.164-189.

Picture 2fontaine02FileMonte di pietà dei pilli, before 1880

The first Monti di Pietà (or mounts) were created in 15th-century Italy by Recollet monks to shield the less-fortunate from the scourge of usury. It was not so much intended to pool the poor out of misery as to provide the struggling middle dwellers with a last safety net before falling into poverty (p.164). In the peninsula, the capital hoarded in the safes of the mounts was often diverted from its original aim to be loaned to the rich. It prevented the Italian mounts from becoming really successful. However their model spread over Europe. Read the rest of this entry »


Dagnino G. B. (1995) When being the first is not enough

September 28, 2009

Dagnino, Giovanni Battista (1995) “The Tavola di Palermo: The First Public Bank of Second European XVI century” in Proceedings of the Conference on Business History, October 24 and 25 1994, Rotterdam, eds Mila Davids, Ferry de Goey & Dirk de Witt, 91-111.

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The evolution of Sicilian banks reflects the history of the island during the early modern period, in that they were “economically and financially backward” (p.91). The 16th century in the Western Mediterranean was a time of Spanish Domination dominated by (1) money clipping, (2) high inflation, (3) commercial mismanagement, (4) Gresham Law episodes fuelled by unscrupulous financiers and (5) heavy and altogether negative government interventions (p.93). Read the rest of this entry »


Sylla R. (2008) How Alexander Hamilton founded America (singlehanded)

September 22, 2009

Sylla, Richard (2008) “The Political Economy of Early U.S. Financial Development”, in Political Institutions and Financial Development, ed. Stephen Haber, Douglass C. North and Barry R. Weingast. Stanford: Stanford University Press, 60-91.

Picture 1Picture 2Picture 3

In only seven years, from 1788 to 1795, the US underwent a dramatic financial revolution; starting from scratch and swiftly acquiring all the key components of a modern financial infrastructure. By the time the westward expansion and the industrial take-off were ready to swing into action, a strong financial system was there to back them (p.62). But what allowed the US to develop these instruments? Read the rest of this entry »


Sessions of the Second Latin American Economic History Congress

September 21, 2009

Wordle: CLADHE-II: List of sessions

Here is the list of preapproved sessions  of the Second Latin American Economic History Congress (CLADHE-II), to be held in Mexico City on February 3-5, 2010. To submit a paper to any of the sessions, you have to go here.

Wordle: CLADHE-II: Lista de simposios


Web shopping: On Krugman and Expedición 1808

September 14, 2009
Ben, Olivier and Bob

Ben, Olivier and Bob

Disclaimer: Sorry about the delay in completing this post (holidays and tons of work impeded its prompt publication).

Here’s an article by Paul Krugman on the state of economics and the failure of most mainstream economists to imagine the worst-case scenario (i. e., the world financial crisis of 2008 and the Great Recession of our days). Here are some reactions of Krugman on the reception of the piece in the blogosphere. And here’s a great post by Beatrice Chérrier at History of Economics Playground exploring Krugman’s ambiguities on the methodology of macroeconomics.

Now, on to diminishing my credibility. Here are the ads of the TV show I am part of. The feature was recorded in the first semester of 2008.  It will run on Saturdays and Tuesdays at 19 h in NatGeo, the National Geographic channel covering from Tijuana to Ushuaia. I have not heard enough reactions to the show to have an statistically significant image of what people think about it (so far partiality prevails) If you live in the Western hemisphere and have the chance to watch it, I’ll be more than glad to hear your comments on my unexpected debut in television.


This week in Economic History (August 31-September 5, 2009)

August 31, 2009

From August the 31st to September the 4th, there will be a Summer University in Greece on History, Philosophy and Economic Thought.

From Wednesday to Friday, the 41st UK History of Economic Thought Conference will take place at the University of Manchester.You can contact Terry Peach for more information.

The 8th Conference of the European Historical Economics Society will take place on Friday the 4th and Saturday the 5th. The Conference is organized by the European Historical Economics Society, and is chaired by Marc Flandreau in the Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, in Switzerland.

And well, on to some personal advertising. On Saturday the 5th (a day after my 25th birthday!), a TV show where I participated, Expedición 1808, will air in the National Geographic Channel in Latin America. Expedición 1808 is a “one-of-its-kind show, following the journey [expedición] of seven Mexico City youngsters in seven Hispanic American countries, to determine the path and relevance of ideas that gave birth to the independence wars of the 19th century” [taken from the press brief].

Out of the official aim of the show, I will talk about some aspects of economics and economic history: from sugar production nearby Caracas to smuggling and free trade inValparaíso, then and now… Here’s an advance of the show.

Stay tuned for news on web broadcasts…