McCant A. (1997) Moral capitalism: investments to feed orphans

October 2, 2009

McCants, Anne E.C. (1997) “The Rise and Decline of an Institutional Endowment, in Civic Charity in a Golden Age. Orphan Care in Early Modern Amsterdam, Urbana/Chicago: University of Illinois Press, 151-191.

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Numerous elements point to the fact that Dutch charities were well-endowed in the early modern period (p.151). Nonetheless charities were expensive to run and part of the funds came from the beneficiaries themselves. For instance at the Amsterdam Municipal Orphanage, or Bugerweeshuis,

“the orphaned children of poor, but nonetheless, citizen, parents could not be denied entry on the basis of an inadequate inheritance to defray the cost of their support. But the orphaned children of prosperous citizens could also not expect to be cared for entirely at public expenses.”

Nonetheless the bulk of the institution’s resources came from its invested endowment (p.153). Read the rest of this entry »

Gelderblom O. & Jonker J. (2008) What really brought interests down

September 21, 2009

Gelderblom, Oscar & Joost Jonker (2009) “The Conditional Miracle. Institutional change, fiscal policy, bond markets and interest rates in Holland 1514-1713”, Utrecht University Working Papers.

Jan de Baen, Portret van Johan de WittOscar en JoostKaartLeiden

This paper is available online (pdf).

Traditional explanation of the low issuing rate on public debt in the Dutch Republic emphasize the dramatic fall that occurred around 1600, but fail to explain why this level kept on falling from 1640 to 1725, until it had reached 2.5% (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »

‘t Hart M. (2009) Trust your friends, buy annuities

September 1, 2009

‘t Hart, Marjolein (2009) “Mutual Advantages: State Bankers as Brokers between the City of Amsterdam and the Dutch Republic”, in The Political Economy of the Dutch Republic, ed. Oscar Gelderblom, p.115-142.

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The Dutch public credit in the early modern period enjoyed a uniquely high standing; but how did it work? (p.116). The sale of the securities to the public were in the hands of a district receiver who earned a brokerage of 0.5% (p.118). It took political and family connection to accede the position as well as a significant amount of wealth (p.120). “The personal wealth of this agent radiated from his office and thus supported the credit of the state”. Besides, the position could be quite rewarding financially. Read the rest of this entry »

Fritschy W. (2003) A ‘Financial Revolution’ reconsidered

April 9, 2009

Fritschy W. (2003) “A ‘financial revolution’ reconsidered: public finance in Holland during the Dutch Revolt, 1568-1548”, The Economic History Review, 56/1, 57-89.



A financial revolution is often mentioned as an important pre-condition for the rise of a modern state. Post-1689 Britain is the best-known example: a shift from short-term to long-term public debt guaranteed by the Parliament allowed the British government to increased substantially its budget (p.57). A roughly similar process is said to have taken place in the Netherlands at a provincial level, in Holland in the 1540s for instance state´s annuities (renten) are assumed to have replaced the cities’ short-term obligation (p.58). Read the rest of this entry »