Conference “The Global Politics of Public Debts, from the Late Eighteenth Century” (June 11-12, 2015)

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Convened by Nicolas Barreyre (EHESS-CENA), Nicolas Delalande (Centre for History at Sciences Po) and Alexia Yates (CRASSH, University of Cambridge)

June 11-12, 2015

Centre for History and Economics, Cambridge (UK)

Venue: The Parlour, First Court, Magdalene College, University of Cambridge


Note: names followed by * indicate participants who will send a paper but will not be able to be present during discussions.


June 11, 2015

 9:30-10am: Welcome / coffee

 10-11am: Introduction—Questions, Approaches, Objectives

  • Alexia Yates, Nicolas Delalande, Nicolas Barreyre

11am-12:45pm: Public Credit and Political Regimes

Discussant: Pedro Ramos Pinto (University of Cambridge)

Discussion on the papers by:

  • Patrik Winton (Uppsala Universitet). “Global Capital in Scandinavia: The Political Economy of Government Borrowing in Denmark and Sweden, 1760-1815”
  • Katia Béguin* (EHESS). “A New Regime for the French Public Debt? The Deterrent Effect of the Past and the English Model” (cancelled)
  • Stefanie Middendorf (Martin-Luther-Universität, Halle-Wittenberg). “State Effects: The Public Debt and the Change of Political Regimes in Germany, 1918-1938”
  • Matthieu Rey (Collège de France). “Debts and Taxation: Building Economic Sovereignty in Iraq and Syria (1946-1952)”

1-2pm: lunch

2-3:45pm: Debt, Money, and Taxation

Discussant: Martin Daunton (University of Cambridge)

Discussion on the papers by:

  • Stephen Sawyer (American University of Paris). “Make Money Not War: Taxation and Debt in the Fiscal Revolution of the 1870s”
  • Alexander Nützenadel* (Humboldt Universität). “The Road to Indebtedness? Fiscal Policy and Debt Management in Italy from the Nineteenth Century”
  • Anush Kapadia (City University London). “India’s Fiscal-Monetary Machine: Construction and Overheating, c. 1966-1991”
  • Éric Monnet (Banque de France). “Blurring the Lines between Monetary and Fiscal Financing of Public Debt after World War II: The French Case in European Perspective”

3:45-4:15pm: coffee break

4:15-6pm: Financial Citizenship and Domestic Debts

Discussant: Adam Tooze (Yale University)

Discussion on the papers by:

  • Alexia Yates (University of Cambridge). “Reason and Imagination: The Lottery Bond and the Culture of Public Debt in Nineteenth-Century France”
  • Noam Maggor (Tel Aviv University / University of Pennsylvania). “Austerity, Democracy, and the Subnational Politics of Market Integration in the United States (Late Nineteenth Century)”
  • Juan Flores* (Université de Genève). “Latin America’s Domestic Debt Markets in the Late Nineteenth Century: A Missed Opportunity?”
  • Kristy Ironside (Higher School of Economics, Moscow). “‘Compulsory-Voluntary’: Soviet State Bonds and the Boundary Between Taxes and Investments”

7pm: Dinner for Participants


June 12, 2015

9-10:45am: International Lending and Contested Sovereignties

Discussant: David Todd (King’s College London)

Discussion on the papers by:

  • Ali Coskun Tuncer (UCL). “‘Sultan’s Wisdom’: Debt, Default and Control in the Ottoman Empire, 1854-1914”
  • Malak Labib (Aix-Marseille Université). “Redefining the Public Realm: Debt Restructuring, ‘Political Reform’ and Imperial Expansion in Egypt (1875-1882)”
  • Anastassios Anastassiadis (McGill University). “The (Un)Bearable Lightness of Limited Sovereignty? Debt, International Control and State Formation in Greece, 1857-1927”
  • James T. Sparrow* (University of Chicago). “Sovereign Debt: The Mass Politics of Bretton Woods and American Extraterritorial Governance after World War II”

10:45-11:15am: coffee break

11:15am-1pm: The Political Economy of Public Debts

Discussant: Duncan Needham (University of Cambridge)

Discussion on the papers by:

  • D’Maris Coffman (University College London). “Who Really Paid and Why? Revisiting the Thorny Question of the Economic Incidence of Excise Taxation in Seventeenth- and Eighteenth-Century Britain”
  • Dong Yan (UCLA). “Chinese Public Credit, 1870-1910: Effects on Regional and Social Inequality”
  • Adam Tooze (Yale University). “Politics in a Time of Debt: Affluence and Deficits in the West, 1970-2014”
  • Benjamin Lemoine* (CNRS). “How the State Became a Regular Borrower: The Treasury and the Commodification of French Sovereign Bonds (1960-2012)”

1-2pm: lunch

2-4:30pm: Conclusion: Collective Discussion on Our Collaborative Work and Book Project

Final discussion amongst participants will be held in CRIPPS 3, Magdalene College:


With the support of:

  • “Emergences” Program, City of Paris
  • Centre for History and Economics, University of Cambridge
  • Labex TEPSIS
  • Mondes Américains (EHESS-CNRS)
  • Trevelyan Fund, History Department, University of Cambridge
  • Economic History Society