Using Financial Markets to Analyze History: The Case of the Second World War

Reprint No. 2007:36

Author(s): Bruno S. Frey and Daniel WaldenströmYear: 2007 Title: Historical Social Research Volume (No.): 32 (4) Pages: 330–350

»Vom Nutzen der Analyse von Finanzmärkten für die Geschichtswissenschaft. Eine Untersuchung anhand des 2. Weltkrieges«. This article presents the analysis of financial markets as a supplementary method to the traditional historiographic approach by investigating the perception of events before and during World War II. This approach constitutes an alternative to written sources, which are often biased and commonly do not represent the opinions held in the wider public. In the following, the financial markets approach is used to analyse the perception and anticipation of events before and during the World War II in France, Germany, Denmark, and Norway. Thereby, price data of longterm government bonds for these countries traded in Zurich and Stockholm are used. The presented evidence challenges some common held views, e.g., it can be shown that the invasion of Norway was in part anticipated by contemporaries. Although both methods rely on interpretation the financial markets approach is based on a fundamentally different type of source. Therefore, it can be used as a supplement to the traditional approach.

Frey, Bruno S. and Daniel Waldenström (2007), "Using Financial Markets to Analyze History: The Case of the Second World War". Historical Social Research 32(4), 330–350.

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