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The 1719-20 stock euphoria: a pan-European perspective


  • Condorelli, Stefano


The French Mississippi Bubble, British South Sea Bubble and Dutch Windhandel were part of a 1719-20 pan-European equity boom that involved many more countries than hitherto thought. Drawing on extensive archival research, the paper establishes that speculation and stock euphoria spanned from Portugal to Russia, and from Sicily to Sweden. As such, it demonstrates that 1720 European financial markets were largely driven by common forces. Comparing all the projects (successful or unsuccessful) for joint-stock companies promoted around 1720, the paper underlines three aspects that shed new light on this first transnational financial bubble. First, these projects bring to the fore a two-speed Europe: while the most advanced economies focused on innovative business sectors (in particular marine insurance), the least developed were catching up with a model that was more than one century old, namely the privileged company for long-distance trade and colonization. Second, French and British experiments with public debt engineering (that fuelled the Mississippi and South Sea Bubbles) were emulated throughout Europe; in almost every country there were schemes geared to improving public finances. Third, the timing of the global equity boom was more diachronic than previously thought, suggesting that contemporaries did not expect that a stock market crash somewhere should necessarily generate a contagion effect.

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  • Condorelli, Stefano, 2014. "The 1719-20 stock euphoria: a pan-European perspective," MPRA Paper 68652, University Library of Munich, Germany, revised Dec 2015.
  • Handle: RePEc:pra:mprapa:68652

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    References listed on IDEAS

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    8. Ann M. Carlos & Larry Neal, 2006. "The micro‐foundations of the early London capital market: Bank of England shareholders during and after the South Sea Bubble, 1720–251," Economic History Review, Economic History Society, vol. 59(3), pages 498-538, August.
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    Cited by:

    1. Condorelli, Stefano, 2018. "Price momentum and the 1719-20 bubbles: A method to compare and interpret booms and crashes in asset markets," MPRA Paper 89888, University Library of Munich, Germany.
    2. Stefano Condorelli, 2017. "Des dettes de guerre des années 1701-12 à l’euphorie financière de 1719-20 : une perspective pan-européenne," Post-Print hal-01779048, HAL.

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    More about this item


    Financial history; early modern history; European economic integration; South Sea Bubble; Mississippi Bubble; financial crisis synchronicity; joint-stock companies; public debt-for-equity swap; marine insurance; long-distance trade; financial innovation.;
    All these keywords.

    JEL classification:

    • F31 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Foreign Exchange
    • F36 - International Economics - - International Finance - - - Financial Aspects of Economic Integration
    • G01 - Financial Economics - - General - - - Financial Crises
    • G15 - Financial Economics - - General Financial Markets - - - International Financial Markets
    • H63 - Public Economics - - National Budget, Deficit, and Debt - - - Debt; Debt Management; Sovereign Debt
    • M13 - Business Administration and Business Economics; Marketing; Accounting; Personnel Economics - - Business Administration - - - New Firms; Startups
    • N23 - Economic History - - Financial Markets and Institutions - - - Europe: Pre-1913
    • N43 - Economic History - - Government, War, Law, International Relations, and Regulation - - - Europe: Pre-1913

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