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The European Association for Banking and Financial History (eabh) e.V.


The Development of Financial Markets

20 Jun 2019

St. Petersburg, Russia

PLEASE NOTE this conference has been POSTPONED until further notice!

This conference adopts a longue durée approach to the historical study of the design of financial systems and their related institutions and explores some of the following questions: how should we coordinate financial systems to make them beneficial for society as a whole? Are there identifiable and transferable factors that facilitated growth and development in some economies as compared to others? What components of a financial system are important, and in which periods and under what circumstances? How have different parts of financial systems interacted throughout history? How has the past shaped the role of finance today?

The conference will touch on a variety of big questions pertaining to financial history: What are the key financial factors when it comes to building or rebuilding a nation? What is the ideal role of the state in relation to money and banking? What are the appropriate tasks of government intervention and regulation? Is it more beneficial for overall economic performance to centralise or decentralise power? What is the relationship between the architecture of national financial systems and sovereign risk? What economic, legal and political factors determine development outcomes in the long run? How should we organise financial markets to account for competing factors: domestic protection vs. deregulation; bank-based (financial intermediaries) vs. market-based (financial markets); innovation vs. regulation. And what responsibility should be ascribed to central banks or financial regulators for the success (or failure) of financial systems throughout history?


Archival Workshop

Minting History

Financial History at Face Value

21 Jun 2019

St. Petersburg, Russia

PLEASE NOTE this workshop has been POSTPONED until further notice!

This  workshop is aimed at minting and financial institutions’ archivists, money museum curators and researchers. The extensive archives of mints are a treasure-trove of information often covering extended periods of time. Yet some of these archival treasures are only accessible to a handful of specialists or remain largely unknown to researchers and the public. This workshop aims to present these materials to a wider audience and make them more accessible to interested researchers and scholars.

Since antiquity, apart from serving as means of payment and store of value, coins also served politically and culturally important functions, representing sovereignty and fashioning identities. Private or public mints, acting in tune with economic development and financial innovation, created coinage that itself is a valuable source of social, political and cultural history.

What is the legacy of these mints’ records? What is their relevance today? Can the use of these records raise public awareness of their relevance for the history of money and finance?What is their research potential? Can they contribute to a wider view on the history of money and payment systems?



The Dynamics of Inclusive Finance

20 Mar 2020

Utrecht, Netherlands

Why was it that in developed Western economies, financial institutions like banks only began to reach deep into society during the 1960s and 1970s? What drove this expansion, why did it not come earlier, what alternative services did people use before, and when, how and why did formal services come to replace those alternatives? Was the expansion demand or supply driven, made possible  by new technology or simply a function of rising personal incomes, fostered by governments and central banks, or the result of private entrepreneurship? What was the relationship between emerging welfare states and the rise of commercial banking?

We want to particularly unearth and examine the alternatives to commercial banking that existed before in order to understand why banks gained the upper hand. This matters at a time when confidence in and public appreciation of banks seems to be at an all time low, while at the same time the erosion of the welfare state forces people to rely more and more on services provided by them. After all, knowing the conditions under which alternatives to commercial banking flourished my help when thinking of more modern alternatives that could help diverting the risks of bank based lending. The workshop aims at a cross country comparison in order to examine the dynamics of inclusive finance on a wider level.

In order to investigate these questions,  University of Utrecht together with eabh invites colleagues to Utrecht in March 2020.

Call for papers


German Sonderweg in Banking


Frankfurt am Main , Germany

By comparison with other countries, the history of the German banking system is particular. It developed as a three pillar system of private, public and cooperative banking, with industrial development and production heavily relying on the universal banking model of the big players on the market. The model has been considered one of the main factors of the success of German reconstruction after the war and the countries thriving middle class business ever since. Today however, it seems problem ridden all over with all mayor banking houses struggling for profits and an underdeveloped stock market that cannot step in to finance new business and innovation. How does Germany’s financial system look today, in particular in the European context? Is their financial system failing the Germans in securing economic success in the future? Is there inspiration in history?

With this conference we will invite academics and practitioners to discuss these matters. Further details will be available soon.