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Notarial activity and credit demand in Lisbon during the Eighteenth-Century

Leonor Costa (), Maria Manuela Rocha and Paulo Brito ()

No 2014/51, Working Papers GHES - Office of Economic and Social History from ISEG - Lisbon School of Economics and Management, GHES - Social and Economic History Research Unit, Universidade de Lisboa

Abstract: The long-term financial effects of increased liquidity in the Portuguese economy in the 18th century are the subject of an ongoing study on the private credit market in Lisbon. The research project focuses interest rates variations and the 1755 earthquake’s impacts, integrating these topics into a broader approach on the Portuguese economy in a time when colonial Brazil contributed to gold money inflows. This article presents the methodological procedures followed to build up a representative sample of short-term loans that form the database for this project and describes the first results of the study considering the uses of credit. First results assure the minor role played by investment, whereas the main use of loans was personal credit for consumption. An extremely large proportion of this category, however, referred to contracts for the acquisition of durable goods (including the building of urban properties). The importance of rollover and restructuring of debts is the unanticipated information these short-term loans provided, and the earthquake did not show up as affecting particularly this feature of the structure of credit. The destruction of capital nevertheless accounted for the need of building and improving residential capital, and for that reason organisational investment to rebuild urban stores and rural equipment reached some representativeness among the overall uses of credit between 1756 and 1780.

Keywords: Credit markets; Brazilian gold; Lisbon earthquake. JEL classification : N13; N23; N43 (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2014
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