Public Functions, Private Markets: Credit Registration by Aldermen and Notaries in the Low Countries, 1500–1800

  • Oscar Gelderblom
  • Mark Hup
  • Joost Jonker
Part of the Palgrave Studies in the History of Finance book series (PSHF)


Gelderblom, Hup, and Jonker explore financial market development in preindustrial Europe by examining the financial functions performed by aldermen and notaries. Using a new dataset of 12,000 credit transactions registered by these public officials in six different cities in the Low Countries between 1500 and 1780, we analyze who used their services, for which purposes, and at what price. We find that notaries and aldermen were very active in registering debt contracts, but failed to obtain a commanding or even strong position as financial intermediaries in the way Parisian notaries did. As they registered only a small fraction of local credit transactions, notaries and aldermen in the Low Countries never possessed the information advantage of their French counterparts. Our findings highlight the degree to which subtle regulatory differences profoundly affected the dynamics of financial market evolution.


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Copyright information

© The Author(s) 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • Oscar Gelderblom
    • 1
  • Mark Hup
    • 2
  • Joost Jonker
    • 1
  1. 1.Universiteit UtrechtUtrechtNetherlands
  2. 2.UC IrvineIrvineUSA

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