Journal of European Economic History - 2022 issue 1

Volume LI

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Rethinking the Legacy of Bretton Woods. 2021 Luigi De Rosa Lecture on Global History
It is a great honor to give a lecture in memory of the distinguished Neapolitan economic historian Luigi De Rosa ...
The Legacy of Bretton Woods: Some Reflections on Harold James’s Essay
As Harold James (2022) puts it very well "Bretton Woods has become a powerful myth about how global collective action problems may be addressed." ...
The System that Became a Non-System: The End of Bretton Woods Fifty Years Later
Introduction: a failure of policy cooperation Bretton Woods is a steppingstone in the history of the post-war world ...
Somnolence to Dominance: A Hundred Years of the Foreign Exchange Market in London
London’s preeminence as a foreign exchange trading center is of recent vintage. Before World War I, there was little demand for foreign currencies by British banks, firms and investors, which conducted the majority of their cross-border transactions in sterling. Foreign currency transactions were mainly in dollars, reflecting the historical importance of the American cotton trade. Hence with the rise of dollar invoicing and settlement, London was well positioned as a venue for dollar transactions. This specialization in turn enabled it to become the leading center for Eurodollar deposits in the 1950s and the premier currency trading center following the removal of exchange control in 1979. London’s current preeminence is partly a reflection of this history: of the City’s status as a financial center in the 19th century, of the worldwide role of sterling, and of a distinctive demand for dollar credit. It is partly a reflection of the readiness of regulators and financial associations to welcome competition from foreign financial firms. It is partly a reflection of the facility with which market participants adopted new trading and communications technologies, again reflecting London’s historic financial center status. Thus, the same factors that made for London’s late start as a foreign exchange trading center contributed to its subsequent success.
Fool’s Gold: The Return on Investment in Global Mining, 1869-1969
In this paper, we study the return on investments in mining for a whole century, starting in the “Golden Age” of resource exploitation in the late nineteenth century. We use a sample of more than 1,000 mining companies, registered on the London Stock Exchange 1869-1969, but operating on all continents of the world. Our results suggest that the return on investments in mining was lower than for a comparable portfolio of all equity on the London Stock Exchange. Our results also suggest substantial differences in return depending on the type of resource mined – with diamond-stocks being particularly lucrative for investors and gold-stocks underperforming in the long run. At the same time, mining was a risky investment, when measured as volatility. Hence, our results fits badly with standard financial market theories of the relationship between risk and return. Instead, a combination of information asymmetries and a recurrent overoptimistic risk-appetite should be sought as potential explanations for investors’ decisions and the return on investment in global mining.
Slavery, Vagrancy and Poverty. A Journey between Picaresque Fiction and Social Control in Early Modern Valencia
The aim of this article is to relate slavery, vagrancy and poverty in the Valencia of the Early Modern Period. These are liminal concepts and the archival documents show not only how a subject could pass from one status to another during his life, but also how the stories told by the slaves in the confessions in front of the Baile General often represented a picaresque fiction that already the Spanish literature of the 16th century, and in particular the Lazarillo de Tormes, had highlighted as typical of the behaviour of the low Spanish society of the ancien régime and of the importance of social control over certain types of behaviours. Finally, the case of the Valencian slave Abdala is treated. This is a case of particular interest because in 1686 the Baile donated him in charity to the convent of the barefoot Trinitarians of the city of Valencia.
In memoriam
Mehmet Genç (1934-2021)
News of the death of the country’s foremost Ottoman economic historian, Mehmet Genç, on March 18th, 2021, made the front pages of newspapers in Turkey ...
Review Articles
Hard Food for Witnesses. Reading Notes on Alexandra Shepard
1. Mass autobiography
Historians have begun to work with a certain assiduity, in recent years, on civil courts in early modern Europe, producing a body of research of considerable depth and novelty ...
“Nothing Develops Like Development”: Banks, Economic Development, International Expansion of Italy
1. Historiography: the state of the art
The role of banks in supporting Italy’s international projection after World War II, the framework in which it was implemented and the geopolitical consequences have been studied by historians for decades now ...
Book Reviews
Gustavo Corni
Weimar. La Germania dal 1918 al 1933
Matteo Nardozi

A. Garrido, F. Rosas
Il Portogallo di Salazar. Politica, Società, Economia
Valerio Torreggiani

Matthew C. Klein, Michael Pettis
Trade Wars Are Class Wars: How Rising Inequality Distorts the Global Economy and Threatens International Peace
Diego Pagliarulo

Ivo Maes, Ilaria Pasotti
Robert Triffin: A Life
Harold James

Milena B. Methodieva
Between Empire and Nation. Muslim Reform in the Balkans
Alberto Basciani

Teresa Numerico
Big data e algoritmi. Prospettive critiche
Alessandro Albanese Ginammi