IDEAS home Printed from https://ideas.repec.org/p/ucg/wpaper/0065.html
   My bibliography  Save this paper

Breaking the piggy bank: What can historical and archaeological sources tell us about late-medieval saving behaviour?

Author

Listed:
  • Jaco Zuijderduijn
  • Roos van Oosten

Abstract

Using historical and archeological sources, we study saving behaviour in late-medieval Holland. Historical sources show that well before the Reformation – and the alleged emergence of a ‘Protestant ethic’ – many households from middling groups in society reported savings worth at least several months’ wages of a skilled worker. That these findings must be interpreted as an exponent of saving behaviour – as an economic strategy – is confirmed by an analysis of finds of money boxes: 14th and 15th-century cesspits used by middling-group and elite households usually contain pieces of money boxes. We argue this is particularly strong evidence of late-medieval saving strategies, as money boxes must be considered as ‘self-disciplining’ objects: breaking the piggy bank involved expenses and put a penalty on spending. We also show that the use of money boxes declined over time: they are no longer found in early-modern cesspits. We formulate two hypotheses to explain long-term shifts in saving behavior: 1) late-medieval socioeconomic conditions were more conducive for small-time saving than those of the early-modern period, 2) in the early-modern Dutch Republic small-time saving was substituted by craft guild insurance schemes.

Suggested Citation

  • Jaco Zuijderduijn & Roos van Oosten, 2015. "Breaking the piggy bank: What can historical and archaeological sources tell us about late-medieval saving behaviour?," Working Papers 0065, Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History.
  • Handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0065
    as

    Download full text from publisher

    File URL: http://www.cgeh.nl/sites/default/files/WorkingPapers/cgehwp65_zuijderduijnvanoosten.pdf
    Download Restriction: no

    Citations

    Blog mentions

    As found by EconAcademics.org, the blog aggregator for Economics research:
    1. A Pre-Protestant Ethic?
      by shenderson97 in NEP-HIS blog on 2015-09-29 14:00:51

    Citations

    Citations are extracted by the CitEc Project, subscribe to its RSS feed for this item.
    as


    Cited by:

    1. Zuijderduijn, Jaco, 2016. "The Ages of Women and Men : Life Cycles, Family and Investment in the Fifteenth-Century Low Countries," Lund Papers in Economic History 150, Lund University, Department of Economic History.

    More about this item

    Keywords

    medieval history; early-modern history; archaeology; saving; economic strategies; financial history.;

    NEP fields

    This paper has been announced in the following NEP Reports:

    Statistics

    Access and download statistics

    Corrections

    All material on this site has been provided by the respective publishers and authors. You can help correct errors and omissions. When requesting a correction, please mention this item's handle: RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0065. See general information about how to correct material in RePEc.

    For technical questions regarding this item, or to correct its authors, title, abstract, bibliographic or download information, contact: (Sarah Carmichael). General contact details of provider: http://edirc.repec.org/data/cgeuunl.html .

    If you have authored this item and are not yet registered with RePEc, we encourage you to do it here. This allows to link your profile to this item. It also allows you to accept potential citations to this item that we are uncertain about.

    We have no references for this item. You can help adding them by using this form .

    If you know of missing items citing this one, you can help us creating those links by adding the relevant references in the same way as above, for each refering item. If you are a registered author of this item, you may also want to check the "citations" tab in your RePEc Author Service profile, as there may be some citations waiting for confirmation.

    Please note that corrections may take a couple of weeks to filter through the various RePEc services.

    IDEAS is a RePEc service hosted by the Research Division of the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis . RePEc uses bibliographic data supplied by the respective publishers.