Panel 4A - Measuring long-term inequality trends in incomes and wealth: a global perspective. ROOM A138
The sessions aim to provide a forum for discussions of labor markets, living standards,
and social- and economic inequality across different periods and geographical
contexts, bringing together researchers working within different subfields of economic
history. This second session focuses on inequality. The first focuses on labor markets,
wages, and living standards with the working title "An international approach to labor
Theorizing over the mechanisms behind long-term inequality trends has been a central
question in economic history for decades. Despite this interest, we still lack a
consensus on both the timing and the main drivers of economic disparities. The past
decade has seen an increase in the number of estimates for inequality in pre-industrial
and industrializing societies, mostly for the West, but increasingly also for other
regions in the world. In this session, we aim to bring together a broad range of papers
discussing economic disparities in a wide range of historical and geographical
contexts and to highlight the common methodological challenges in estimating longterm
inequality trends in wealth and income. As an example, many previous studies
have relied on the construction of social tables, and while the method is becoming
increasingly popular, there is yet no standardized methodology.
Session organiser: Erik Bengtsson, Lund University/University of Gothenburg, Ellen Hillbom, Lund University and Jakob Molinder, Uppsala University/Lund University
Chair: Ellen Hillbom
Discussants: Ellen Hillbom and Jakob Molinder
Papers and participants:
1. Jutta Bolt, Erik Green and Ellen Hillbom (Lunds universitet), ”A federation of inequality: A comparative study of colonial Malawi, Zambia and Zimbabwe”
2. Klas Rönnbäck (Göterborgs universitet), ”Wealth Inequality in the Carribean”
3. Nina Boberg-Fazlic (University of Southern Denmark), Markus Lampe (WU Vienna University of Economics and Business), Paul Sharp (University of Southern Denmark and CEPR), ” Danish land inequality 1682-1895”
4. Rolf Aaberge, Jørgen Modalsli and Edda Solbakken (Oslo universitet), “Measuring long-run wealth inequality.
Panel 4C - Regional dynamik under den agrara revolutionen: Kvantitativa skattningar av åkerareal och jordbruksproduktion i Sverige ca 1750-1900 I. ROOM A156.
Ett problem i studiet av de långa linjerna i Sveriges ekonomiska och agrara utveckling är att uppgifterna om åkerarealer och produktion i 1800-talets officiella jordbruksstatistik inte är tillförlitliga. Samtidigt föreligger ett högkvalitativt källmaterial i de många lantmäteriakter som utifrån storskifte, enskifte och laga skifte ca 1750–1900 täcker en stor del av rikets gårdar. I tre pågående projekt används detta material för att rekonstruera data om arealer och produktion under den agrara revolutionen: projektet Databasen Sveriges åkerarealer 1810 och 1870, vid Institutionen för historiska studier, Göteborgs universitet; Agrarekonomisk tillväxt eller stagnation i Mälardalen: Regionala produktionsdata 1750–1920 vid Ekonomisk-historiska institutionen, Uppsala universitet; samt Tillväxt, institutioner och naturliga förutsättningar: den agrara revolutionen i ett regionalt perspektiv vid Avdelningen för agrarhistoria, Sveriges Lantbruksuniversitet.
Syftet med sessionen är att presentera de olika projekten, jämföra och diskutera metodval och källor, samt även att presentera och analysera de resultat som nåtts så här långt. Vad kan de nya sifferserierna säga om den regionala dynamiken i Sverige under den agrara revolutionen? Vilka perspektiv öppnas upp i förhållande till de långa linjerna i landets ekonomiska utveckling? Även forskare utanför de tre projekten hälsas välkomna att inkomma med förslag på papers.
Session organiser: Lars Nyström, University of Gothenburg & Marja Erikson, Uppsala University
Papers and participants:
- Mats Morell and Marja Eriksson, Uppsala University, "En preliminär skattning av jordbruksproduktionen i Uppsala län ca 1760-1920"
- Maja Lundqvist, Uppsala University, "Skifte och nyodling i Uppsala län 1640-1900"
- Erik Hallberg och Lars Nyström, "Projektet Databasen Sveriges åkerarealer 1810 och 1870: preliminära resultat"
- Carl-Johan Gadd, "Svensk jordbruksproduktion, 1800-1910. En studie av tre tidsperioder"
Panel 4D - Rethinking Debt in Pre-Industrial Europe I. ROOM B115.
Since the crisis of 2008, debt has increasingly become a major concern in our contemporary world. Abyssal public debt, ever growing student loans, credit card indebtedness and concern regarding the housing bubble regularly appear on the front page of newspapers worldwide. But what is exactly debt? Is it a financial tool sustaining growth or is it the evil of our modern societies auguring its downfall? The last financial crisis has clearly proven that the paradigm of debt was poorly understood, even -and perhaps above all- by economists. We clearly need a better comprehension of the mechanisms and threats associated with debt. In this respect, historians of early financial markets can highlight critical points.
Recently, David Graeber suggested a concept he labelled “everyday communism” in reference to the solidarity and norms of cooperation existing among people when it comes to the structure and organization of their traditional communities, from the management of common lands to neighbourly and daily mutual assistance (Graeber, 2011). With this concept in mind, he proposed studying the evolution of the paradigm of debt over the last 5,000 years, with special reference to the transition from “everyday communism” to “impersonal arithmetic”; this latter model based on inequality, oriented towards profit making and the de-personification of exchange, in other words our current situation. Craig Muldrew, on the other hand, adopts a less radical standpoint and proposes a model he called “economy of obligation”, where pre-industrial debt and credit were embedded in a large network of social and economic relationships (Muldrew, 1998). Parallelly, Laurence Fontaine prefers the model of “moral economy” first proposed by E.P. Thompson, where social norms such as fairness and solidarity prevailed (Fontaine, 2014).
Our panel seeks to contribute to this ongoing debate on the meaning of financial exchange and debt. Participants are invited to reflect on the meaning of debt before banks in pre-industrial Sweden and in Europe in a broad fashion. The aim is to discuss debt mechanisms, informal debt versus formal debt character, private versus public debt, and the evolution of the concept of debt over time.
Session organiser: Elise M. Dermineur, Umeå University & Martin Almbjär, Uppsala
Papers and participants:
- “Ambiguous Debt: The Meaning of Debt in Sweden and Finland, 1790-1910”, Martin Almbjär, Sofia Gustavsson and Tiina Hemminki
- "Informal Credit Networks in Pre-Industrial France", Elise M. Dermineur, Umeå University
- "The other fundamental of exchange: debtor protection in pre-modern economic history", Jaco Zuidjerduijn, Lund University
- "Banks before banks – the credit market(s) in Stockholm 1650-1700", Christopher Phil, Uppsala University
- "Dealing with the government's salary debts after the Great Northern War", Joakim Scherp, Stockholm University
- "From liquidity crisis to honorable bankruptcy? The terms and implications of credit for small-scale production of consumer goods, Sweden ca 1755–75", Rosemarie Fiebranz, Uppsala University
Panel 4E - The development of the political economy in the Nordic area, some scattered examples. ROOM A144.
The historical development of the national economies of Sweden, Demark, Norway and Finland has been examined in considerable detail. However, there is less research comparing the Nordic economies, or mapping the transnational dimensions of the Nordic economic and political development, nor research into what (if anything at all) the Nordic or Scandinavian special path or “Sonderweg” consists of. This session has a collection of papers covering and comparing different aspects of the development of the Scandinavian and Nordic political economy before the Second World War. By comparing, using a birds’ eye-perspective and looking at transnational developments the session aims at instigating a discussion on the historical development of the socalled Scandinavian model.
Session organiser: Pål Thonstad Sandvik, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology
Papers and participants:
1. Jari Eloranta, Univ. of Helsinki & Jari Ojala, Univ. of Jyväskylä, "Public Debts and the Credibility of Democracies: Nordic Development Patterns in Comparisons"
2. Harald Rinde, Univ. of Agder, "Technology & (political) culture: The organization and governance of Scandinavian telecommunications, 1850-1920"
3. Pål Thonstad Sandvik, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology, "The end of laissez faire? The rise of interventionist states in Scandinavia before 1914"
4. Andreas Dugstad, Norwegian Univ. of Science and Technology, “Finders keepers" or "property of the people"? Swedish and Norwegian mineral regulations in international context 1870-1939"
Panel 4F - The Circulation of Financial Knowledge in Late Modern Sweden: Education, Popularisation, Embracement. ROOM B139.
This session will highlight how cultural historical approaches can enhance and challenge prevailing accounts of late modern Swedish economic history. The starting point is that financial markets and practices have come to play a greater role in the lives of the many. Scholarly discussion on this topic is shaped by analysis of quantitative data and macro-theoretical accounts of “neoliberalism” and “financialisation”. Although there is a rich international scholarship about everyday finances and “popular finance” within e.g. sociology, anthropology, economic geography cultural economic research with a clear historical perspective is scarce. The session brings together scholars working on the circulation of financial knowledge by means of education and/or popularisation. It will focus on views and values, actors and organizations, as well as public debates and political and business initiatives in relation to small finance: savings, loans, investments and the use of financial services by ordinary people. Moreover, it will take an interest in issues of periodization by discussing if there are any particular phases and trajectories that deserve more attention. How did cultural practices on a micro level relate to the changes that have been described on a macro level? We also seek to spur the formation of new research networks.
Session organiser: David Larsson Heidenblad, Lund University & Orsi Husz, Uppsala University
Chair: Oskar Broberg, University of Gothenburg
Papers and participants:
1. Claes Ohlsson (Linnæus University), “Saving as a new trend, a virtue or something self-evident? A study of the means and goals of persuasion in 150 years of bank advertisements”
2. Martin Gustavsson (SCORE, Stockholm) & Andreas Melldahl (Uppsala University), ”Learning to loan. Financial aid to students as a disciplinary device, 1939-2019”
4. Orsi Husz (Uppsala University), "Turning the concept of financial knowledge upside down and inside-out The marketing of credit cards in 1970s Sweden"
5. David Larsson Heidenblad (Lund University), “A nation of everyman investors? Embracing stocks as a savings form in Sweden 1978– 2018”
Abstract, papers and presentations are all in English. The session will be held in Swedish but can be held in English if necessary.
Session organiser: Scandinavian Economic History Review
Chair: Laura Ekholm
Papers and participants (in no particular order):
- Matti Hannikainen & Jarmo Peltola, University of Tampere, "Finnish Unemployment in the Great Depression of the 1930s from a Comparative Perspective"
- Cristián Ducoing & Jonas Ljungberg, Lund University, “Machinery prices during the second industrial revolution. An international comparison of capital goods, 1850 – 1939
Top of page