The Bank of England’s Weathervane

           For better or worse, forecasting has become part of economists’ repertoires. But, given the delays involved in collecting and summarizing data into regular reports on the economy’s health, using more frequently compiled or even real-time data is an art in itself. Trying to make sense of the overall economy by looking at minute-by-minute movements in

How Stamps Funded a War

           Ever since late medieval Italian city-states sold bonds to finance wars, the availability of debt financing has been crucial to the war-fighting ability of almost every country. However, not until the 20th century did their financing become a public affair. War Bonds played a significant role in civilian participation in the war effort during both

The Tontine Coffee-House

           Those who know a bit about New York’s financial past have almost certainly heard of the Buttonwood Agreement. In 1792, two dozen stockbrokers signed a now famous pact agreeing to trade directly with each other, bypassing any middlemen, under a Buttonwood tree on Wall Street. This agreement standardized trading between them and is thus thought

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