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Using Financial Markets to Analyze History: The Case of the Second World War

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  • Bruno S. Frey
  • Daniel Waldenstrom

Abstract

A central aspect of historical research is to provide explanations for the causes and effects of events that occurred in the past, in particular the Second World War. History can be analyzed and explained from different perspectives. Two such perspectives are considered, the first being the traditional historiographic approach, in which the main emphasis is on the qualitative analysis of various kinds of historical sources and documents, and the second being what we call the financial market approach, a recent methodology for linking significant changes in historical market prices to simultaneously occurring geopolitical events. The fundamental characteristics of the two approaches are identified and compared in answering some important historical questions concerning the Second World War. The financial market approach, as reflected in the secondary market for government bonds, is studied for various countries. Both approaches rely heavily on interpretation ? but in different ways. They complement each other in a useful way.

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Bibliographic Info

Paper provided by Center for Research in Economics, Management and the Arts (CREMA) in its series CREMA Working Paper Series with number 2007-19.

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Date of creation: Oct 2007
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Handle: RePEc:cra:wpaper:2007-19

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Keywords: Financial markets; government bonds; history; World War II;

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  1. Kristen L. Willard & Timothy W. Guinnane & Harvey S. Rosen, 1995. "Turning Points in the Civil War: Views from the Greenback Market," NBER Working Papers 5381, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  2. Oosterlinck, Kim, 2003. "The bond market and the legitimacy of Vichy France," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 40(3), pages 326-344, July.
  3. Perron, P. & Bai, J., 1995. "Estimating and Testing Linear Models with Multiple Structural Changes," Cahiers de recherche 9552, Universite de Montreal, Departement de sciences economiques.
  4. Anindya Banerjee & Robin L. Lumsdaine & James H. Stock, 1990. "Recursive and Sequential Tests of the Unit Root and Trend Break Hypothesis: Theory and International Evidence," NBER Working Papers 3510, National Bureau of Economic Research, Inc.
  5. Justin Wolfers & Eric Zitzewitz, 2009. "Using Markets to Inform Policy: The Case of the Iraq War," Economica, London School of Economics and Political Science, vol. 76(302), pages 225-250, 04.
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Cited by:
  1. Kim Oosterlinck & Loredana Ureche-Rangau & Jacques-Marie Vaslin, 2013. "Waterloo: a Godsend for French Public Finances?," Working Papers CEB 13-028, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
  2. Xavier De Scheemaekere & Kim Oosterlinck & Ariane Szafarz, 2012. "Addressing Economic Crises: The Reference-Class Problem," Working Papers CEB 12-024, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.

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