Preliminary Programme

Wed 18 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Thu 19 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Fri 20 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.30 - 18.30

Sat 21 March
    08.30 - 10.30
    11.00 - 13.00
    14.00 - 16.00
    16.00 - 17.00

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Wednesday 18 March 2020 08.30 - 10.30
B-1 ECO02 Bookkeeping, Intermediation and Financial Organizations in Early Modern Europe
P.N. van Eyckhof 2, 002
Network: Economic History Chair: Jaco Zuijderduijn
Organizer: Patrik Winton Discussants: -
Mauro Carboni : Managing Money in Early Modern Italy
Throughout the early modern period the expansion of financial services was a key-forward sector of advanced European economies. This trend led to the formation of large “corporations”, the running of which required sophisticated bookkeeping techniques as well as the development of managerial skills apt to run an ever growing clerical ... (Show more)
Throughout the early modern period the expansion of financial services was a key-forward sector of advanced European economies. This trend led to the formation of large “corporations”, the running of which required sophisticated bookkeeping techniques as well as the development of managerial skills apt to run an ever growing clerical workforce. Since Sombart, the virtues of “scientific accounting” have been documented and debated by the historiography, much less attention has been instead devoted to the twin innovation of managerial practices to reward competence and loyalty, and to discourage abuse and negligence.
In early modern Italy these developments are mostly associated to a new crop of credit agencies, such as public banks and public pawnshops (Monti di pietà). Their spectacular economic success proved a mixed blessing, and many institutions faced the challenge of rapid business growth. Lack of managerial expertise, negligence and fraud could easily lead to the loss of patrimonial assets. The introduction of innovative bookkeeping solutions and managerial procedures, to hire and promote competent staff, were crucial in both battling abuse and keeping business efficiency. This paper will be devoted to illustrate the innovative techniques introduced in the early modern period by the administrations of one of the largest and most prosperous credit agencies operating in pre modern Italy: the Monte of Bologna. Through a careful blending of inspections, penalties, and rewards, administrators were able to plot a highly innovative and successful business course. (Show less)

Anne Murphy : Managing ‘Neglect of Duty & Inattention to Business’ at the Eighteenth-century Bank of England
The clerks employed at the eighteenth-century Bank of England were banned from undertaking paid work in the financial market for a number of reasons. It distracted them from the task at hand, led to problems with the jobbers and brokers and was incompatible with the Bank’s attempts to assert its ... (Show more)
The clerks employed at the eighteenth-century Bank of England were banned from undertaking paid work in the financial market for a number of reasons. It distracted them from the task at hand, led to problems with the jobbers and brokers and was incompatible with the Bank’s attempts to assert its distance from the market and its probity and integrity. As a Committee of Inspection established in 1783 asserted, clerks who did indulge were in danger of having their minds seduced ‘from regular employment in an easy service, & attaching them to objects inviting though dangerous…’. But it seems that the rules were commonly flouted nonetheless. This paper will explore the ways in which the clerks sought to enhance their incomes through acting as brokers and jobbers in the financial market. It will also seek to understand the consequences for the institution and the methods it used to keep the clerks focused on their work. (Show less)

Christopher Pihl : Credit-building Practices: Riksens Ständers Bank (the Bank of the Estates of the Realm) on the Swedish Credit Market 1668-1700
After the first Swedish bank, the private and royal chartered Stockholm’s Banco, had crashed due to a bank-run in the early 1660s, it was reorganized and placed under the rule of the Estates of the Realm in 1668. An urgent aim for the Estates – and its representatives in the ... (Show more)
After the first Swedish bank, the private and royal chartered Stockholm’s Banco, had crashed due to a bank-run in the early 1660s, it was reorganized and placed under the rule of the Estates of the Realm in 1668. An urgent aim for the Estates – and its representatives in the board of the bank – was to reestablish trust in the bank. In order to gain trust, the bank aspired to hire people that had both the knowledge to run a bank and the ability to build confidence in the institution. For the latter, the candidate’s reputation was emphasized as crucial by the board. The board also paid great interest in the clerks’ daily encounter with borrowers and depositors – complains and rumors on the bank were examined thoroughly.

Research on the financial development in Europe during the early modern periods have traditionally been focusing on constitutional arrangements, legal and judicial development, and aggregated levels of financial markets. A central concept have been ‘credible commitment’. However, new research has begun to take a bigger interest in the daily activities by individual as well as by institutional actors on the markets. This paper discuss the importance of the daily financial practice and its performers in understanding the financial development: the daily practices of the clerks and how trust was built – and sometimes ruined – in the encounter between the bank and the publics. (Show less)

Patrik Winton : Servants of Liquidation: the Clerical Staff at the First Debt Office in Sweden, 1719–1723
In 1719, a new government agency was formed by the Diet in Sweden. The purpose was to administer the liquidation of the debt that the former royal regime had accrued during the Great Northern War. The royal regime had issued great volumes of token coins, as well as bonds and ... (Show more)
In 1719, a new government agency was formed by the Diet in Sweden. The purpose was to administer the liquidation of the debt that the former royal regime had accrued during the Great Northern War. The royal regime had issued great volumes of token coins, as well as bonds and salary notes in order to finance the war, but the policies came to an abrupt end when the king, Charles XII, died in Norway in 1718. The new political leadership established a regime that greatly reduced the role of the monarchy and strengthened the power of the Diet. One important part of the new political settlement was to liquidate the previous regime’s debt by a partial default on the token coins, and by slowly repaying the other parts of the debt. These measures were undertaken around the same time as many governments in Europe grappled with the consequences of the growing dependence on credit for funding warfare. In this paper I will examine how the new regime built up the organization that was tasked with liquidating the debt. Who did they hire as bookkeepers and clerks, and how did they structure the organization in order to ensure that the new regime’s policies were carried out? Previous research has largely neglected these issues. Thus, by examining these questions we will gain a better understanding of how clerical work was organized in a European state during a crucial period when the relationship between governments and credit markets was renegotiated. (Show less)



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