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The dear old holy Roman realm. How does it hold together? Monetary policies, cross-cutting cleavages and political cohesion in the age of reformation

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  • Volckart, Oliver

Abstract

Research has rejected Ranke’s hypothesis that the Reformation emasculated the Holy Roman Empire and thwarted the emergence of a German nation state for centuries. However, current explanations of the Empire’s cohesion that emphasise the effects of outside pressure or political rituals are not entirely satisfactory. This article contributes to a fuller explanation by examining a factor that so far has been overlooked: monetary policies. Monetary conditions within the Empire encouraged its members to cooperate with each other and the emperor. Moreover, cross-cutting cleavages – i.e. the fact that both Catholics and Protestants were split among themselves in monetary-policy questions – allowed actors on different sides of the confessional divide to find common ground. The paper analyses the extent to which cleavages affected the negotiations about the creation of a common currency between the 1520s and the 1550s, and whether monetary policies helped bridging the religious divide, thus increasing the Empire’s political cohesion.

Suggested Citation

  • Volckart, Oliver, 2018. "The dear old holy Roman realm. How does it hold together? Monetary policies, cross-cutting cleavages and political cohesion in the age of reformation," Economic History Working Papers 90503, London School of Economics and Political Science, Department of Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ehl:wpaper:90503
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    File URL: http://eprints.lse.ac.uk/90503/
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    References listed on IDEAS

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    1. Chilosi, David & Volckart, Oliver, 2011. "Money, States, and Empire: Financial Integration and Institutional Change in Central Europe, 1400–1520," The Journal of Economic History, Cambridge University Press, vol. 71(03), pages 762-791, September.
    2. repec:cup:apsrev:v:96:y:2002:i:01:p:111-126_00 is not listed on IDEAS
    3. repec:eee:jeborg:v:146:y:2018:i:c:p:180-205 is not listed on IDEAS
    4. Munro, John H., 2000. "The 'New Institutional Economics' and the Changing Fortunes of Fairs in Medieval and Early Modern Europe: the Textile Trades, Warfare, and Transaction Costs," MPRA Paper 11029, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Feb 2001.
    5. Boerner, Lars & Volckart, Oliver, 2011. "The utility of a common coinage: Currency unions and the integration of money markets in late Medieval Central Europe," Explorations in Economic History, Elsevier, vol. 48(1), pages 53-65, January.
    6. Ulrich Pfister & Georg Fertig, 2010. "The population history of Germany: research strategy and preliminary results," MPIDR Working Papers WP-2010-035, Max Planck Institute for Demographic Research, Rostock, Germany.
    7. Henning Finseraas & Niklas Jakobsson, 2012. "Trust and Ethnic Fractionalization: The Importance of Religion as a Cross-Cutting Dimension," Kyklos, Wiley Blackwell, vol. 65(3), pages 327-339, August.
    8. Gupta, Gautam & Mahmud, Minhaj & Maitra, Pushkar & Mitra, Santanu & Neelim, Ananta, 2018. "Religion, minority status, and trust: Evidence from a field experiment," Journal of Economic Behavior & Organization, Elsevier, vol. 146(C), pages 180-205.
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    More about this item

    Keywords

    Holy Roman Empire; reformation; political cohesion; monetary policies.;

    JEL classification:

    • H11 - Public Economics - - Structure and Scope of Government - - - Structure and Scope of Government
    • H77 - Public Economics - - State and Local Government; Intergovernmental Relations - - - Intergovernmental Relations; Federalism
    • N13 - Economic History - - Macroeconomics and Monetary Economics; Industrial Structure; Growth; Fluctuations - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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