Finance and Financial Management


In this paper I combine long multi-country time series data for interest rates and stock returns with the institutional evidence for much earlier centuries amassed by economic historians to study the question of financial globalization and how it has altered since the late classical era. At their longest, for Dutch and English short-term interest rates, the quantitative data that I use extend back slightly more than three centuries. The institutional history provides information on an additional millennium’s worth of experience. The conclusion that I reach is that the internationalization of money and finance and the globalization of financial markets are not new phenomena. They are part of an evolutionary process that began much earlier and that has continued, albeit with periodic interruptions and reversals, for many centuries. What we see today is simply the latest and most advanced manifestation of this process.