Marc Flandreau

Economic history; Financial crises and the information economy; Experts, expertise and policy making
Howard Marks Professor of Economic History
College Hall 215 A
mfl@sas.upenn.edu

Now the Howard Marks Chair of Economic History, Marc Flandreau received his PhD in Economics from the Ecole des hautes études en sciences sociales, Paris, 1993 and is also a former graduate from the Ecole normale supérieure in Paris. By intersecting two disciplines, Flandreau’s work examines the “micro-foundations” of historical capitalism, especially since 1800. To those ends, he excavates both the structural dynamics and also the layered storylines surrounding the co-evolution of credit, information and financial systems.

Flandreau has published extensively on the history of the international monetary system, central banking, exchange-rate regimes, public finance, monetary unions, rating agencies, financial journalism, white-collar criminality, investment banking, and the dynamics of financial crises. His work on the origins and birth of the international gold standard, on the historical determinants of government credit worthiness, or on the negative effects of colonial rule on economic development have recast existing paradigms in quantitative economic history.

His latest book, Anthropologists and the Stock Exchange (Chicago, 2016), casts new light on the “unholy trinity” of scientific knowledge, power, and finance in Victorian Britain. By tracing previously unseen linkages between scientific societies, financial ventures, and imperial interests, the book demonstrates, in very precise ways, how scientific truth is really part of the value system of financial capitalism. Currently, Flandreau also has a number of ongoing projects, including a book project on the evolution of sovereign debt markets in the 19th century, which seeks to tie the geo-political contexts of defaults in the nineteenth century to the evolution of legal venues and the history of international financial engineering. He is also pursuing a project on the complex relationships between capitalism and humanitarianism, based on a series of case studies shedding new light on the entanglements between money and goodwill.

Flandreau has been a member of the editorial boards of the main economic history journals, which include Journal of Economic History, Economic History Review, and European Review of Economic History. In addition to his scholarly activities, he has also consulted regularly for various bodies including the International Monetary Fund, the Bank of Norway and the Bank of France, and currently advises the Bank for International Settlements’ macro-historical data project, Historical Monetary and Financial Statistics.