Preparing the European project: Antwerp

F. Buelens, A. Riva and I met on March 26th in Antwerp at the impressing office of Frans (maybe 100 square meters overwhelmed with the collections of any kind of financial information on Belgium for that last two centuries). Frans showed us the database he has been working on in the last ten years, and we discussed the organization of the project.

In terms of database building, the following points (and likely some others) must be clarified:

–         How can one convince participants to share the data they have built (and will build) ?

  • Part of the answer is that they will be able to improve these data by including foreign details. But this may not be immediate…
  • Another answer is that this would be a condition for accessing the European database.
  • Another is to guarantee due reference to their work
  • More suggestions welcome.

–         How can one have enough coordination of data accumulation in order to make comparisons and European-level research possible ?

–         How can participants be sure they will be able to access the data ? (both technically – at distance – and legally – without undue restrictions).

–         How can participants be sure the University of Antwerp will provide the maintenance and security needed for the long term viability of the project ?

These questions should be given answers at the Paris meeting I plan to organize in September.

They can be debated on this blog up to that date.

Pierre-Cyrille Hautcoeur

I have been working (inter alia) on the history of financial markets and stock exchanges since my dissertation, which emphasized the role of the Paris Bourse in the financing of French firms from 1890 to 1936. Recently, I worked with David Le Bris in presenting and analyzing a new stock index for the Paris Bourse (1854-2007), and with Angelo Riva, Paul Lagneau-Ymonet and A. Rezzae on the microstructures of the Paris Bourse in the 19th c. My interest in the history of European Stock Exchanges project results from the following: - the observation that today's financial markets being well integrated, their understanding, organization and regulation require at least a vision at the European level; although organization and regulation were national, integration was certainly important in the 19th c., and we may understand better competition among markets and the impact of different regulations when studying that period. We should also learn from the variety of fates that stock markets suffered in the 20th c. - the methodological conviction that only firm level data for a large number of firms will allow substantial progress on most questions in financial history. - substantial changes in regulation are few, so that their long term observation and the comparison of the regulations of various countries (and exchanges) is key to its understanding. My present projects include: - understanding French exchanges more broadly by including the provincial exchanges (on which many SMEs were listed) into their study; this covers mostly the 1850-1960 period. - developing a conceptual framework for the comparison of the microstructures of stock exchanges and for the quantitative test of their relative efficiency. For more details, look at my website, which includes links to most of my papers.

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