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Public perceptions and bond markets during the Great War: the case of a neutral country

  • Christoph A. Schaltegger
  • Lukas A. SchmidEmail author
Article
  • 60 Downloads

Abstract

Neutrality during World War I was not assured but depended on the ability of a neutral state to adjust to the major belligerent powers’ interests. How did Switzerland manage to adhere to its neutrality policy under those circumstances? This paper analyzes contemporary perceptions of neutrality by means of a structural break analysis. According to historiography Switzerland was endangered from within rather than by foreign actions. The analysis based on a newly assembled database supports this assessment in parts. In the bondholders’ view, Switzerland’s neutrality was most threatened by the events leading up to the general strike in November 1918.

Keywords

Great War Neutrality Switzerland Sovereign bond market Public perception 

JEL Classification

N24 N44 

Notes

Acknowledgements

This article was written in honor of Peter Bernholz on the occasion of his 90th birthday. While Prof. Bernholz’s published work combines an array of subjects such as monetary economics, political economy and the economics of power, many of his contributions are characterized by his avid interest in history. His extensive “historical exploration of economic and social relations” is not only driven by his personal curiosity but also the conviction that the “assessment of long-term development” is undermined by the negligence of history in economics (Bernholz 2005). Our article builds on this tradition Professor Bernholz has extensively contributed to throughout his academic career.

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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media, LLC, part of Springer Nature 2019

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Faculty of Economics and ManagementUniversity of LucerneLucerneSwitzerland
  2. 2.University of St. GallenSt. GallenSwitzerland

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