Investment behaviour, political change and economic growth in the Netherlands, 1780-1920

Project: Staff

Project Details


Industrialization and modern economic growth came comparatively late to the Netherlands. Unlike the political elites of the frontrunners England and Belgium, who pushed for change, those in the Netherlands were supposedly content with the status quo. We explore to what extent this was true by reconstructing the composition of wealth holdings at death of the Dutch political elite between 1780 and 1920. We analyse the financial results of these investments and we perform an in-depth analysis of investment in agriculture, a sector which changed dramatically during the century under consideration, first through elites resuming active management of their landed estates, then through outside competition forcing change and the adoption of new cultivation methods. The project breaks new ground in two ways. It lays bare the connections between the economic, political, social and cultural behaviour of Dutch political elites between 1780 and 1920, and it takes the research method of Piketty et al. one step further, by determining how the size and composition of the political elite’s wealth holdings influence their political decisions.
Effective start/end date1/10/1715/11/21


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