Hans-Joachim Voth

Chair of Economic Development, University of Zurich


Books, edited volumes, and special issues

Lending to the Borrower from Hell (2014)Lending to the Borrower from Hell [with Mauricio Drelichman], Princeton University Press, 2014.

Philip II of Spain was the first serial defaulter in history, declaring bankruptcy no fewer than four times during his reign. How did a powerful monarch manage to borrow so much while defaulting so often? We analyse hundreds of 16th century loan contracts and show that defaults were largely anticipated. Bankers survived the shocks because they had entered into state-contingent contracts, and were protected by thick equity cushions. Parts of the loans were sold on, which spread the pain in times of crises. As Henry Wallace remarked - "tis better to have lent and lost than never to have lent at all."

Prometheus Shackled (2013)Prometheus Shackled [with Peter Temin], Oxford University Press, 2013.

Britain's growth during the Industrial Revolution was unimpressive. This simple fact constitutes a puzzle - technological change was relatively rapid. Why did the "wave of gadgets" not result in faster increases in GDP? In this book, Peter Temin and I argue that excessive financial regulation is largely to blame. The Hanoverian "warfare state" appropriated resources to finance numerous wars, in part by making it impossible for the banks to compete for funds. This slowed the transfer of resources to new, rising industries.

Symposium on Capital Controls (2003)Symposium on Capital Controls [edited with Barry Eichengreen], Special Issue of the International Journal of International Finance and Economics, 2003.

Time and Work in England (2001) Time and Work in England, 1750-1830, Oxford: Oxford University Press (January 2001).

My book on labor input and productivity growth in England during the Industrial Revolution (based on my 1996 Oxford dissertation) was published by OUP in 2001. Reviewers have called it "both novel and ingenious" (Greg Clark, JEH) "bold, original, intelligent, and important" (Penelope Corfield, Business History Review), "important and impressive" (Jon White, English History Review), "surely...one of the most influential books ever written both on the industrial revolution and on the issue of time use...a masterpiece of econometric history" (Social History Society Bulletin). You can buy it from Amazon and selected booksellers. [reviews] [sample chapter pdf]

European Capital Markets (2000) European Capital Markets [with W. Seifert et al.], Houndsmills: Macmillan/Palgrave (March 2000).

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