DEBT.PT

Sovereign debt and private credit in Portugal (1668-1797)
(PTDC/HAR-HIS/28809/2017)

Abstract

This research project aims to analyse Portugal’s public debt in the early modern period and its impact on private credit. The central issue is the credibility of the commitment of the state in servicing the debt issued in the form of perpetuities. The conjecture is that the state's ability to borrow at decreasing interest rates was possible because colonial rents offered a credible collateral. Defaults could only have occurred at junctures of colonial empire economic contraction. Construction of the following sets of data would provide a confirmation of our conjecture: a) outstanding debt; b) tax revenue allocated to debt servicing; c) interest rates; d) debt management; e) creditors. To analyse the impact of the public credit on the private capital market, this project considers episodes of deferment of interest payments and of major changes in credit regulation conditioning investment decisions. The well-kept account books of Misericórdias (the one in Oporto, among others) provide a vantage point to jointly observe the dynamics of both credit markets.

By considering an uncharted historical case, this project contributes to the elaboration of a more comprehensive history of public debt in Europe, helping to corroborate or refute the state of the art based on the conventional case of success (England and Holland) or failure (Spain, Sweden or France) of the main territorial states.

Team

 

Leonor Freire Costa

GHES/CSG – ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa

CV

Isabel dos Guimarães Sá

CECS – Universidade do Minho

CV

António Castro Henriques

FE – Universidade do Porto

CV

Susana Münch Miranda

GHES/CSG – ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa

CV

Bruno
Lopes

GHES/CSG – ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa

CV

Lisbeth
Rodrigues

GHES/CSG – ISEG, Universidade de Lisboa

CV

Consultants

 

Larry
Neal

University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Jaime
Reis

ICS - Universidade de Lisboa

Rui Pedro Esteves

Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

Paulo
Brito

ISEG - Universidade de Lisboa

CV

Outputs

Publications

COSTA, Leonor Freire, MIRANDA, Susana Münch, NOGUES-MARCO, Pilar. Early Modern Financial Development in the Iberian Peninsula, Paul Bairoch Institute of Economic History, WP, 1/2021 https://archive-ouverte.unige.ch/unige:147492

Conference presentations

2020
November

39th APHES Meeting, University of Faro
Session: Three puzzles from early Portuguese sovereign debt (1500- 1793)
Org. António Castro Henriques

HENRIQUES, António Castro. Merchant, Soldier, Borrower, King. The first Portuguese emissions of juros (1500) in a comparative perspective.

COSTA, Leonor Freire, MIRANDA, Susana Münch. Disguised defaults and puzzling moments in debt management: Portugal’s public credit, 1600- 1780.

RODRIGUES, Lisbeth, SÁ, Isabel dos Guimarães. Private and public credit in the Misericórdia of Porto, 1574- 1800.

2021
February

Webinar: The shadow of the sovereign - Public and private credit markets in early modern Europe

March

RODRIGUES, Lisbeth. Between private and public credit: institutional creditors and investment patterns in eighteenth-century Portugal. European Social Science History Conference (online).

April

COSTA, Leonor Freire, RODRIGUES, Lisbeth. Indulgent creditors of kings. Dealing with sovereign default in eighteenth-century Portugal. Economic History Society Annual Conference (online).

July

40th APHES Meeting (online)
Session: The Shadow of the Sovereign I - Markets for public and private debt in early modern Europe (1400-1800)
Chairman: Álvaro Ferreira da Silva

FURIÓ, Antoni. Long-term credit and public and private debt in the Crown of Aragon in the late Middle Ages.

COSTA, Leonor Freire, MIRANDA, Susana Münch. Restoring credibility. How Portugal financed its political independence (1640-1682).

CHIARUTTINI, Maria Stella. Sovereign debt, private credit and early central banking in Italy, 1734-1894.

Session: The Shadow of the Sovereign II - Markets for public and private debt in early modern Europe (1400-1800)
Chairman: Jaime Reis

HENRIQUES, António Castro. Private and public interest rates in Portugal, 1500-1800.

MCCANTS, Anne. TBA.

RODRIGUES, Lisbeth, SÁ, Isabel dos Guimarães. Institutional investors and the private credit market in Portugal, 1656-1800.

Data Files

Documentation
A – Debt
B – Fiscal coffers
C – Creditors
D – Interest payments (work in progress)


Attribution requirement:
When using these data cite the site www.debt.pt, and assigned it to the project's designation: Sovereign debt and private credit in Portugal, 1640-1800 project (PTDC/ HARHIS/28809/2017).

This is a financed project by the Portuguese Foundation for Science and Technology (FCT) under the aforementioned designation.

In the file "Documentation" you find the information on this project's aim and the sources explored.

The database “Interest payments to the Misericórdia of Porto” is being updated.

WEBINAR

The Shadow of the Sovereign - Public and Private Credit Markets in Early Modern Europe

When

26 February 2021
Starting at 2.30pm

Where

Zoom
 

Intro

Portugal ran from 1500 to 1797, without major upheavals, a system of public debt with low and decreasing nominal interest rates at issuance. Despite these features, this experience attracted little research in either national or international circles. The FCT-funded research project Sovereign debt and private credit in Portugal – 1500-1797 conducted at the GHES-CSG (Centre for Economic and Social History – Lisbon School of Economics and Management, University of Lisbon) was designed to fill this major gap in European financial history. The project is aimed at both reconstructing the key variables (debt stocks, debt ratios to GDP and tax revenues, debt management) and observing the performance of the debt service via the account books of some of the main holders of debts instruments.
This webinar, which will be hosted by the GHES-CSG, intends to look at the comparative background to the Portuguese case and discuss preliminary findings of the project with specialists. Participants are expected to present their recent research on the issues approached in the project.

Webinar Programme

2.30pm

A collateral story of the rise of Portuguese sovereign debt

Larry Neal
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

3.00pm

Necessity is the mother of invention? Supply versus demand-side drivers of state capacity in fourteenth- and fifteenth-century Europe

Tony Moore
ICMA Centre, Henley Business School, University of Reading

3.30pm

The Project Database

Bruno Lopes

Sovereign debt and private credit in Portugal
The Project First Results

Leonor Freire Costa & Susana Münch Miranda
Lisbeth Rodrigues & Isabel dos Guimarães Sá António Castro Henriques

4.00pm

Coffee Break

 

4.30pm

In the Beginning Was Taxation: Taxes and Public Credit in 17th Century Castile

José Ignacio Andrés Ucendo
University of the Basque Country (Spain)

5.00pm

Stock market listing for sovereign bonds, 1872‐1911

Rui Pedro Esteves
Graduate Institute of International and Development Studies, Geneva

5.30pm

Closure


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Address

Gabinete de História Económica e Social
Rua Miguel Lupi N.º 20
Edifício Bento Jesus Caraça, Gab. 411
1249-078 LISBOA
Portugal

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