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The Evolution of Financial Markets in Pre-Industrial Europe: The Case of the Low Countries, 1500-1800

Oscar Gelderblom, Utrecht University
Joost Jonker, Utrecht University

We will spend our time at NIAS writing a monograph that explains why sophisticated capital markets emerged in some parts of pre-industrial Europe, but not in others. The book will offer a comparative analysis of the evolution of financial markets in different parts of the Low Countries (1500-1800). Despite the comparatively small size of this geographic area, it offers a unique opportunity to explore long-term changes of financial institutions under very different political and economic circumstances. Indeed, the history of the Low Countries yields a kind of natural experiment within an area that in the course of the fifteenth and sixteenth century displayed an ever greater legal, political, and economic unity, until a civil war (the Dutch Revolt) set the northern and southern part of the Netherlands on very different paths of economic and political development.

Oscar Gelderblom and Joost Jonker

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