Banking Before Banks: Networks, Behaviour and Strategies in Early Financial Markets

This interdisciplinary project analyses the economic strategies and behaviour of men and women in early financial networks (1400-1900) through social network analysis. The objectives are twofold, (1) to understand how early financial networks formed and (2) how people behaved in such networks. This project focuses on three critical research questions for investigation:


1-     How did early financial networks form?

2-     What were the strategies and behaviour of men and women in early financial markets and networks?

3-     How did social networks affect economic behaviour?


This project breaks new ground in adopting a comparative approach through the use of Social Network Analysis (SNA hereafter). The project features five European regions through selected case studies: France, Spain, Italy, Finland and Sweden. The focus is on the period 1400-1900, a key moment of change that featured industrialization and the development of a commercial banking system. An analysis that uses both SNA and historical empirical analysis is applied to various datasets of probate inventories and tax records.

This project is funded by the Marcus and Amalia Wallenberg Foundation.