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An ‘Atypical’ Case? The First Emergence of Brussels as an International Financial Centre, 1830-1860

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  • Stefano Ugolini

    () (LEREPS - Laboratoire d'Etude et de Recherche sur l'Economie, les Politiques et les Systèmes Sociaux - UT1 - Université Toulouse 1 Capitole - UT2J - Université Toulouse - Jean Jaurès - Institut d'Études Politiques [IEP] - Toulouse - ENSFEA - École Nationale Supérieure de Formation de l'Enseignement Agricole de Toulouse-Auzeville)

Abstract

Economic historians often take for granted the idea that financial centres have followed one standard bottom-up development process, gradually evolving from commercial hubs to banking places. This chapter suggests that such an interpretation is rather simplistic. The analysis is focused on a remarkable counterexample: the sudden emergence of Brussels as an international financial centre in the mid-19th century. The case study is articulated into five parts, each one looking at a different aspect of the growth of the new centre (capital resources, business elites, regulation, the domestic money market, and the foreign exchange market). The conclusion is that the top-down process observed in the Brussels experience sheds light on the fact that semi-institutional actors (such as central banks, or commercial banks connected to the political power) can successfully enact specific policies aimed at enhancing local financial development.

Suggested Citation

  • Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "An ‘Atypical’ Case? The First Emergence of Brussels as an International Financial Centre, 1830-1860," Post-Print hal-01294365, HAL.
  • Handle: RePEc:hal:journl:hal-01294365
    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199603503.003.0003
    Note: View the original document on HAL open archive server: https://hal-univ-tlse2.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01294365
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    File URL: https://hal-univ-tlse2.archives-ouvertes.fr/hal-01294365/document
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    Cited by:

    1. Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "Foreign exchange reserve management in the 19th century: The National Bank of Belgium in the 1850s," Working Paper 2011/07, Norges Bank.
    2. Marc Flandreau, Stefano Ugolini, 2011. "Where It All Began: Lending of Last Resort and the Bank of England during the Overend, Gurney Panic of 1866," IHEID Working Papers 04-2011, Economics Section, The Graduate Institute of International Studies.
    3. Stefano Ugolini, 2012. "The origins of foreign exchange policy: the National Bank of Belgium and the quest for monetary independence in the 1850s," European Review of Economic History, Oxford University Press, vol. 16(1), pages 51-73, February.
    4. Marc Flandreau & Stefano Ugolini, 2013. "Where It All Began: Lending of Last Resort and Bank of England Monitoring During the Overend-Gurney Panic of 1866," Post-Print hal-01293916, HAL.

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