Reflections on the Uses of the Past in International Economic Relations Conference

10 05 2019

I immensely enjoyed the Uses of the Past in International Economic Relations conference here in Oxford. The conference began with a great keynote by Per Hansen followed by a series of excellent papers. The first day ended with me talking about how historical analysis can help senior managers to mitigate cognitive biases, promote long-term thinking, and ultimately increase earnings per share. My presentation generated a lively discussion and I got lots of feedback that will be useful in preparing the paper for submission. On the second day, I heard a variety of excellent papers. I found that the paper on the ECB by Anselm Kuesters was particularly methodologically innovative. I also heard a fantastic presentation by a young economic historian that was based on research in the archive of Stanford University, which now holds the records of the Foreign Bondholders Protective Council.

At the conference, I learned of a new book by Marc Flandreau that I need to order and read.

The conference included an excursion to Brasenose College, where I drank out of a silver tankard that had been manufactured in the seventeenth century. The date on the tankard reads 1659, which I was told is implausible given that the college lost all of its silver under Cromwell’s rule. Archival research has confirmed that the tankard existed by the 1680s but for some reason its creators wanted to backdate it to the year after Cromwell died and the college’s silver was returned. Anyway, drinking from a silver tankard is an interesting experience, because the container cools the drink down after you pour it in.

I express my gratitude to the conference organizers for including my paper and to the European Commission for funding the conference.


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