The Economic History Review

A safe asset in early modern Castile, 1543–1714

Volume 77 Issue 1
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Authors: Víctor M. Gómez-Blanco
Published online: May 27, 2023DOI: 10.1111/ehr.13259

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This article shows how public offices in the early modern period became investment assets in Castile (Spain). Moreover, it demonstrates that offices fulfilled all the conditions for being viewed as safe assets. In particular, through the combination of qualitative sources with a novel hand-collected database, it shows that offices did not suffer from adverse selection, were traded in liquid secondary markets, and increased their value during periods of economic distress. This research is a pioneer in revealing the existence in early modern times of a haven asset, other than coins and public debt, and showing at the same time the private financial uses of offices.