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Showing posts from September, 2018

Female Shareholders and Directors

I'm interested in who invested in companies in the past. I've recently published a paper which looks at clientele effects in Victorian companies - who invested in what type of company and why. In a recent Queen's University Centre for Economic History working paper, I and three colleagues ask the question whether women shareholders in the age of the suffragettes were really making independent investment decisions. Using details on circa 500,000 railway shareholders, we produce the startling finding that women typically invested as solo investors whereas men typically invested together with other men. This implies that women were independent in the sense that they did not co-own shares along with men. Why did men typically co-own shares? We find evidence that men may have co-owned shares as a means of diversifying and a means of investing in non-local companies.

Another interesting finding is that the shareholder lists placed an asterisk beside shareholders who owned enoug…

The Victorian Capital Market

I have post over at the Economic History Society's blog - The Long Run - on the liquidity of the London capital Market before 1870. You can read the post here and the underlying paper is here.


Lehman Brothers and Banking in Crisis

As well as being the 10th anniversary of the failure of Lehman Brothers, today is the 4th anniversary of the official launch of my book Banking in Crisis: The Rise and Fall of British Banking Stability, 1800 to the Present. Prior to 2008, I had almost given up writing about the history of banking stability - people weren't interested. Banking crises were merely of historical curiosity and therefore perceived to be irrelevant. 2008 changed that. All of a sudden, people wanted to know about past crises and historical banking stability. I was asked to speak to bankers and academics and out of these talks Banking in Crisis was conceived.
If you are unfamiliar with Banking in Crisis, here is the blurb from the back of the book: 
Can the lessons of the past help us to prevent another banking collapse in the future? This is the first book to tell the story of the rise and fall of British banking stability in the past two centuries, and it sheds new light on why banking systems crash and …

The Tenth Anniversary of the Lehman Brothers Collapse

There are six standout public events in my memory - I can still picture where I was when I heard the news and who told me the news. The events are the resignation of Margaret Thatcher as PM, the death of Princess Diana, the Omagh bomb, the tragic events of 9-11, the collapse of Lehman Brothers on 15 September 2008, and the results of the Brexit referendum.
The collapse of Lehman Brothers a decade ago was the news that really brought home to ordinary people the scale of the financial crisis that was enveloping the world economy. Why was Lehman Brothers pushed into bankruptcy whereas AIG was rescued a day later? Prior to Lehman's difficulties, the Fed had rescued Bear Sterns in March 2008 and the U.S. Treasury had placed Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac into conservatorship and had injected substantial funds into both institutions.
The standard narrative is that the U.S. government and the Fed refused to bail it out because it was illegal to do so. They also did not believe that it posed…