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State Cash Resources and State Building in Europe 13th-18th century

Katia Béguin
Anne L. Murphy

Markets for Public Debt Securities

The Social Logic of Genoese Public Debt Before the Casa di San Giorgio (Thirteenth–Fifteenth Century)

Jeffrey Miner

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Extrait du texte

Medieval Genoa is probably best known for two things: its spectacular commercial success, due in part to the early adoption of new forms of credit (especially public credit) and its tormented political history.1 As such, it offers an interesting case with which to explore an issue of importance to contemporary scholarly discussions of public credit: how can a sovereign with coercive authority and the power to alter the law credibly commit to lenders that he will repay their loans and not simply default? The locus classicus for these discussions is England’s Glorious Revolution of 1688, which is supposed to have ushered in parliamentary constraint on the English monarchy, lowering the crown’s borrowing costs by preventing default.2 While monarchies have attracted the lion’s share of attention, recent work has pointed out that republics, too, suffered from similar problems of commitment.3 In Genoa’s case, how was it possible that a city government whose merchant elite was deeply divid...


Jeffrey Miner is Assistant Professor of History at Western Kentucky University. He specializes in late medieval Italian history, with a broad interest in pre-modern social and economic change in Europe and the Mediterranean. His 2011 dissertation, ‘“Lest we break faith with our creditors”. Public debt and civic culture in 14th-century Genoa’, examined how the late medieval explosion of public indebtedness inflected private wealth and public life in one of the Mediterranean’s most active and prosperous ports.

© Institut de la gestion publique et du développement économique, 2017

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