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The Origins of Value: The Financial Innovations that Created Modern Capital Markets


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  • Goetzmann, William N.
  • Rouwenhorst, K. Geert

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The essays in this volume are written by a distinguished and adventurous set of historians and economists who have been willing, in many cases, to step beyond their typical field of inquiry and explore the historical foundations of financial innovation. The essays are motivated by the need to place our current age of finanical revolution in historical perspective. The continuing process of financial innovation, as sophisticated as it may seem to most of the modern world, is in fact built on surprisingly few basic principles: the inter-temporal transfer of value through time, the ability to contract on future outcomes, and the negotiability of claims. This book traces the evolution of these basic principles of finance through 3,000 years of history - to the dawn of writing. The methodology that is used can be thought of as financial archaeology in the sense that the authors focus on primary survived financial documents to draw their conclusions such as clay tablets, notched sticks, sealed parchment and printed paper. The analysis of original documents is a means for economists to focus on the primary text, to analyze and interpret the object and to move interpretation and understanding of its relationship to modern financial instruments and markets. The result is a collection of interdisciplinary studies of the key innovations in finance from the Old Babylonion loan tablets, to the 1953 London Debt Agreement that span regions in Asia, Africa, North America and Europe.

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Bibliographic Info

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This book is provided by Oxford University Press in its series OUP Catalogue with number 9780195175714 and published in 2005.

ISBN: 9780195175714
Handle: RePEc:oxp:obooks:9780195175714

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Cited by:
  1. Robert J. Shiller, 2014. "Speculative Asset Prices," American Economic Review, American Economic Association, vol. 104(6), pages 1486-1517, June.
  2. Michele FRATIANNI, 2007. "The Evolutionary Chain of International Financial Centers," Working Papers 303, Universita' Politecnica delle Marche (I), Dipartimento di Scienze Economiche e Sociali.
  3. Sitabhra Sinha & Raj Kumar Pan, 2007. "Uncovering the Internal Structure of the Indian Financial Market: Cross-correlation behavior in the NSE," Papers 0704.2115,
  4. P.V. Viswanath, 2008. "Explorations in the Economics of Intertemporal Asset Transfer in Roman Palestine," Microeconomics Working Papers 22404, East Asian Bureau of Economic Research.
  5. Chollete, Loran, 2011. "A Model of Endogenous Extreme Events," UiS Working Papers in Economics and Finance 2012/2, University of Stavanger.


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