Opper S. (1993): the incredible story of the fleeing Dutchmen

December 13, 2010

Oppers, Stefan E. (1993) The Interest Rate Effect of Dutch Money in Eighteen-Century Britain. The Journal of Economic History, 53/1: 25-43.

Dutch citizens invested heavily in Britain over the 18th century. Even though the English themselves regarded this phenomenon as a necessary evil, it greatly help the Crown to levy the necessary capital for its expenses over the century (p.28). In the 1740s Dutch financiers in London had become critical for the funding of the government’s deficit. To a large extent it can even be said that the Seven Years War was won thanks to foreign money.

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Hoffman, P., Postel-Vinay, G. and Rosenthal, J.-L. …and notaries never became bankers

December 9, 2010

Hoffman, Philip T., Gilles Postel-Vinay and Jean-Laurent Rosenthal (2001) Notaries, Banking and the Expansion of Credit in Old-Regime Paris, chapter 7 in Priceless Markets. The Political Economy of Credit in Paris, 1660-1870. University of Chicago Press, Chicago and London; p.136-176.

Some of the ideas developed in this chapter have been presented elsewhere, so this summary concentrates on the what’s new.

Evidence indicates that in the second quarter of the 18th century, some Parisian notaries were venturing away from the role of brokers between creditors and debtors they had acquired since the mid 1600s. In effect some of them were filling the position left empty by the absence of deposit banks (p.138). They were accepting interest-bearing deposits redeemable on demand and investing the money in different longer term assets such as bills of exchange, government debt and loans to individuals.

Moral hazards
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Béguin K. (2005) Finance in times of uncertainty

January 16, 2010

Béguin, Katia (2005) La circulation des rentes constituées dans la France du XVIIe siècle. Une approche de l’incertitude économique. Annales. Histoire, Sciences Sociales, 60/5 : 1229-1244.

Vodpod videos no longer available. Molière “L’Avare” 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 »

Pullan B. (1999) Save the body to save the soul

September 24, 2009

Pullan, Brian (1999) “The Counter-Reformation, medical care and poor relief”, in Health Care and Poor Relief in Counter-Reformation Europe, eds Ole Peter Grell, Andrew Cunnigham & Jon Arrizabalaga, London: Routledge, 17-33.

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“It [Counter Reformation] stood among much else, for a more introspective Christianity founded on meditative prayer and the systematic examination of conscience, for a moral discipline which extended to clergy and laity alike, for a systematic pay piety shaped by participation in confraternities – in societies devoted to ceremony and good works, and designed to encourage people who could not withdraw from everyday life to follow a modified religious rule based on the practice of charity in all senses of the word”. Read the rest of this entry »

France oppose Google’s scheme…

September 8, 2009

..and it is a dirty shame.

In today’s FT

Google’s ambitious plans to scan millions of books and make them readable through its search engine suffered another blow on Monday after France said it would formally oppose the US settlement that Google needs to circumvent complex copyright issues.

France tends to take pride of being a civilized place, the country of Enlightenments, and what not. How can these claims be adequated with this line of policy designed to keep knowledge behind heavy closed and barricaded doors? How can the world learn about Sartre, Camus and Braudel if the government defends the interest of a handful of heirs and fatcat publishers?

Sorry for this note, not very in line with the rest of the blog, but it really drives me crazy.

Vive Google! A bas Sarko!

Frehen R., Goetzmann W. and Rouwenhorst G. (2009) Why invest in the bubbles?

August 31, 2009

Frehen, Rik, William Goetzmann and Geert Rouwenhorst (2009) “New Evidence on the First Financial Bubbles”, Yale international Center for Finance, Working Paper 04, 24p.

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This article is available online.

Why did investors decide to bet on the various companies that would form the three 1720 bubbles in France, England and the Netherlands? (p.1). How did these bubbles affect companies which unlike the Compagnie des Indes and the South Sea Company were neither involved in the Atlantic trade nor in public finance?

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Flandreau M. et al. (2009) The question was not how to develop finance

August 30, 2009

Flandreau, Marc, Christophe Galimard, Clemens Jobst and Pilar Nogués-Marco (2009) “The bell-jar: commercial interest rates betwee two revolutions” in The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions. From the Seventeenth Century to the Present, eds. Jeremy Atack and Larry Neal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 161-208.

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An earlier version of this paper is available here.

For institutionalist economists as well as for contemporary commentators, the wealth of nations in 18th century Europe was rooted in their political system which influenced the level of interest rates and thus trade (p.165). The confidence investors had in the government’s credit was thus seen as critical (tellingly John Law’s primary aim was to bring interest rates down; p.166). Read the rest of this entry »

Velde F. (2009) Eighteenth-century France’s one-man-bubble

August 21, 2009

Velde, François R. (2009) “Was John Law’s System a bubble? The Mississipi Bubble revisited” in The Origin and Development of Financial Markets and Institutions. From the Seventeenth Century to the Present, eds. Jeremy Atack and Larry Neal, Cambridge: Cambridge University Press, 99-120.

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A slightly different version of this paper is available online.

The shares of the Compagnie des Indes created by John Law to manage the colonization of Louisiana, public finances and monopolies went from 250 Livres in July 1718 when the initial offering closed to just under 10,000 L days before Christmas 1719 and finally to 50 L in March 1721 (p.108). Can this jump followed by an even more impressive collapse in under 3 years be described as a bubble? (p.109) Read the rest of this entry »

Daudin G. (2008) Is my market bigger than yours?

June 20, 2009

Daudin Guillaume (2008) “Domestic trade and market size in late eighteen-century France”, Oxford University: Discussion Papers in Economic and Social History, 32p.

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This article is available on line


The sheer size of the British market is rarely assumed to be a major explanation of the Industrial Revolution. Britons were less numerous than many other people on the continent but low transportation costs and higher density may have created a more integrated economy and thus a larger market. In this paper, the author uses the Tableaux du Maximum (statistics collected in 1794) to estimate whether France was significantly less integrated than England (p.2). Read the rest of this entry »

This Week in Economic History (June 1st-7th, 2009)

June 1, 2009

On Tuesday the 2nd, there will be an international conference on “Genre, Mobilités et Mobilisations” in the University of Paris 8. You can contact Marguerite Rollinde (GTM) on it.

On Wednesday the third, Irène Favier will present a paper named “Autour des restructurations industrielles dans la France du second XXe siècle : de Faverge à Vergèze”, in the Social and Politic History of the Economy seminar organized at the École Normale Supérieure. That same day begins the Sixth Annual Conference of the Italian Association for the History of Political Economy (STOREP), with the topic “Financial Crises in the Economists’ View”, in the University of Florence, Italy. The event will last two days: you can visit the conference site here. In the University of California at Los Angeles Haggay Etkes (Stanford University) presents “Legalizing Extortion: Protection Payments, Property Rights, and Economic Growth in Ottoman Gaza” in the VonGremp Workshop in Economic and Entrepreneurial History. In Colombia, Alberto G. Flórez-Malagón (History Department, Ottawa University) will present a book he edited on cattlefarming, “El poder de la carne. Historias de ganaderías en la primera mitad del siglo XX en Colombia”, at the Pontificia Universidad Javeriana in Bogotá.

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This Week in Economic History (May 11th-17th)

May 10, 2009

I work as an assistant to Dr. Luis Jáuregui, president of the Mexican Economic History Association (AMHE). One of my duties is to search and edit new contents for the Association’s webpage. Among other things, the Association offers a weekly agenda and a list of future events in economic history.

When I first began looking for and organizing information on economic history events of the region and the world, I faced several problems. Even though EH.net seemed like the obvious place to go, the site lacks information on seminars and conferences smaller than major congresses or anual meetings. For that thing one has to search in the webpages of different universities. The French Economic History Association has a very good calendar; however, it is obviously skewed with the many events related to economic history in France. E-mail lists such as the one from the Societies for the History of Economics,  H-World and H-Business also have events from which otherwise one would probably never know. The economic history associations of Latin America use to be very “local” in terms of the events they announce in their webpages.Thus one has to search in several sources what could probably be updated in a central database.

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