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Did nordic countries recognize the gathering storm of World War II? Evidence from the bond markets

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  • Waldenström, Daniel
  • Frey, Bruno S.

Abstract

This paper analyzes and compares different ways of assessing how people perceived impending threats of war in the past. Conventional Nordic historiography of World War II claims there were few, if any, people in the Nordic countries who perceived a significantly increased threat of war between 1938 and early 1940. At the same time, historical methods face problems when it comes to capturing the often tacitly held beliefs of a large number of people in the past. In this paper, we analyze these assessments by looking at sudden shifts in sovereign debt yields and spreads in the Nordic bond markets at that time. Our results suggest that Nordic contemporaries indeed perceived significant war risk increases around the time of major war-related geopolitical events. While these findings question some--but not all--of standard Nordic World War II historiography, they also demonstrate the value of analyzing historical market prices to reassess the often tacitly held views and opinions of large groups of people in the past.

Suggested Citation

  • Waldenström, Daniel & Frey, Bruno S., 2008. "Did nordic countries recognize the gathering storm of World War II? Evidence from the bond markets," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 45(2), pages 107-126, April.
  • Handle: RePEc:eee:exehis:v:45:y:2008:i:2:p:107-126
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    Cited by:

    1. Bryce Kanago & Ken McCormick, 2013. "The Dollar-Pound Exchange Rate During the First Nine Months of World War II," Atlantic Economic Journal, Springer;International Atlantic Economic Society, vol. 41(4), pages 385-404, December.
    2. repec:eee:eneeco:v:64:y:2017:i:c:p:494-510 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. Grossman, Richard S. & Imai, Masami, 2009. "Japan's return to gold: Turning points in the value of the yen during the 1920s," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 46(3), pages 314-323, July.
    4. Waldenström, Daniel, 2010. "Why does sovereign risk differ for domestic and external debt? Evidence from Scandinavia, 1938-1948," Journal of International Money and Finance, Elsevier, vol. 29(3), pages 387-402, April.
    5. Jean-Pascal Bassino & Thomas Lagoarde-Segot, 2013. "Trading patterns at the Tokyo Stock Exchange, 1931-1940," CEH Discussion Papers 012, Centre for Economic History, Research School of Economics, Australian National University.
    6. Kim Oosterlinck & Jeremy Simon, 2015. "Financial Repression and Bond Market Efficiency: the Case of Italy during World War II," Working Papers CEB 15-001, ULB -- Universite Libre de Bruxelles.
    7. Heidi Kaila & Saurabh Singhal & Divya Tuteja, 2017. "Do fences make good neighbours? Evidence from an insurgency in India," WIDER Working Paper Series 158, World Institute for Development Economic Research (UNU-WIDER).
    8. Olga Christodoulaki & Haeran Cho & Piotr Fryzlewicz, 2011. "A Reflection of History: Fluctuations in Greek Sovereign Risk between 1914 and 1929," GreeSE – Hellenic Observatory Papers on Greece and Southeast Europe 50, Hellenic Observatory, LSE.
    9. Hudson, Robert & Urquhart, Andrew, 2015. "War and stock markets: The effect of World War Two on the British stock market," International Review of Financial Analysis, Elsevier, vol. 40(C), pages 166-177.
    10. Christodoulaki, Olga & Cho, Haeran & Fryzlewicz, Piotr, 2011. "A reflection of history: fluctuations in Greek sovereign risk between 1914 and 1929," LSE Research Online Documents on Economics 38378, London School of Economics and Political Science, LSE Library.
    11. Foley-Fisher, Nathan & McLaughlin, Eoin, 2016. "Sovereign debt guarantees and default: Lessons from the UK and Ireland, 1920–1938," European Economic Review, Elsevier, vol. 87(C), pages 272-286.
    12. P.Antipa, 2014. "How Fiscal Policy Affects the Price Level: Britain’s First Experience with Paper Money," Working papers 525, Banque de France.
    13. Antipa, P., 2013. "Fiscal Sustainability and the Value of Money: Lessons from the British Paper Pound, 1797-1821," Working papers 466, Banque de France.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • C22 - Mathematical and Quantitative Methods - - Single Equation Models; Single Variables - - - Time-Series Models; Dynamic Quantile Regressions; Dynamic Treatment Effect Models; Diffusion Processes
    • G14 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Information and Market Efficiency; Event Studies; Insider Trading
    • N01 - Economic History - - General - - - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    • N44 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: 1913-

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