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Household Debt in Seventeenth-Century Württemberg: Evidence from Personal Inventories

Author

Listed:
  • Ogilvie, S.
  • Küpker, M.
  • Maegraith, J.

Abstract

The “less-developed” interior of early modern Europe, especially the rural economy, is often regarded as financially comatose. This paper investigates this view using a rich dataset of marriage and death inventories for seventeenth-century Germany. It first analyzes how borrowing varied with gender, age, marital status, occupation, lifecycle juncture, date, and asset portfolios. It then explores the characteristics of debts, examining borrowing purposes, familial links, intracommunal ties, and documentary instruments. It finds that ordinary people, even in a “less-developed” economy in rural central Europe, sought to invest profitably, smooth consumption, bridge low liquidity, and hold savings in financial form.

Suggested Citation

  • Ogilvie, S. & Küpker, M. & Maegraith, J., 2011. "Household Debt in Seventeenth-Century Württemberg: Evidence from Personal Inventories," Cambridge Working Papers in Economics 1148, Faculty of Economics, University of Cambridge.
  • Handle: RePEc:cam:camdae:1148
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    Cited by:

    1. De Vijlder, Nicolas, 2012. "A macroeconomic analysis of the land market in the count of Flanders and the duchy of Brabant. (fifteenth and sixteenth century)," MPRA Paper 39283, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Timur Kuran & Jared Rubin, 2014. "The Financial Power of the Powerless: Socio-Economic Status and Interest Rates under Partial Rule of Law," Working Papers 14-22, Chapman University, Economic Science Institute.

    More about this item

    JEL classification:

    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • G11 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - Portfolio Choice; Investment Decisions
    • O12 - Economic Development, Innovation, Technological Change, and Growth - - Economic Development - - - Microeconomic Analyses of Economic Development
    • D14 - Microeconomics - - Household Behavior - - - Household Saving; Personal Finance

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