Alonso García D. (2008) For the monarchy: entrepreneurs on call

October 6, 2009

Alonso García, David (2008) “Finances royales et monde financier dans la creation de la monarchie espagnole (xvie siècle)” in Les finances royales dans la monarchie espagnole (xvie-xixe siècles), ed Anne Dubet. Rennes: Presses Unioversitaires de Rennes, 175-186.

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Early modern governments’ reliance on private finance has usually been interpreted as a sign of weakness. This is an anachronism; the use of private finance is the result of a strategy from the sovereigns (p.175). In Spain, the crown sees the involvement of the merchants in the tax-collection process as a way to enrich the kingdom (p.176). Read the rest of this entry »

Stabel P. and Haemers J. (2006) Financial revolution: the supply side story (… almost)

September 12, 2009

Stabel, Peter and Jelle Haemers (2006) “From Bruges to Antwerp. International commercial firms and government’s credit in the late 15th and early 16th century”, in Banca, Crédito y Captial. La Monarquía Hispánica y los antiguos Países Bajos (1505-1700), eds. Carmen Sanz Ayán and Bernardo J. García García, Madrid: Fundación Carlos de Amberes, p.20-38.

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The Financial Revolution – i. e. the gradual increase of government spending made possible by an increasing reliance on loans obtained from the capital markets – has essentially been studied from the side of the public demand. The ability of the markets to match this demand being regarded almost as a given. Meanwhile the impact the governments’ enormous financial needs may have had on private finance have hardly been addressed (p.22). Read the rest of this entry »

Drelichman M. and Voth H.-J. (2008) Was Golden Age Spain cursed?

July 6, 2009

Drelichman, Mauricio and Voth, Hans-Joachim (2008) “Institutions and the Resource Curse in Early Modern Spain”, in Helpman, Elhanan; ed. Institutions and Economic Performance, Cambridge, Ma: Harvard University Press, 34p.

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This paper is available here (pdf).


During the late 16th and 17th century, the Spanish crown defaulted several times on its debts, growth was sluggish and population eventually shrank (p.4). The cause of this failure has been known for a while: the ‘resource curse’, or in other words, the “undesirable economic outcomes associated with natural resources abundance”.

The most famous of these symptoms has been called the ‘Dutch disease’. In that case, the resource-oriented sector of the economy attracts in priority the production factors, thus depleting the innovation-rich manufactory sector and making the country dependant on import, thus deteriorating the terms of trade (p.5). Read the rest of this entry »