Breaking the piggy bank: What can historical and archaeological sources tell us about late-medieval saving behaviour?
Jaco Zuijderduijn () and
Roos van Oosten
No 65, Working Papers from Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History
Using historical and archeological sources, we study saving behaviour in late-medieval Holland. Historical sources show that well before the Reformation – and the alleged emergence of a ‘Protestant ethic’ – many households from middling groups in society reported savings worth at least several months’ wages of a skilled worker. That these findings must be interpreted as an exponent of saving behaviour – as an economic strategy – is confirmed by an analysis of finds of money boxes: 14th and 15th-century cesspits used by middling-group and elite households usually contain pieces of money boxes. We argue this is particularly strong evidence of late-medieval saving strategies, as money boxes must be considered as ‘self-disciplining’ objects: breaking the piggy bank involved expenses and put a penalty on spending. We also show that the use of money boxes declined over time: they are no longer found in early-modern cesspits. We formulate two hypotheses to explain long-term shifts in saving behavior: 1) late-medieval socioeconomic conditions were more conducive for small-time saving than those of the early-modern period, 2) in the early-modern Dutch Republic small-time saving was substituted by craft guild insurance schemes.
Keywords: medieval history; early-modern history; archaeology; saving; economic strategies; financial history. (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Pages: 46 pages
New Economics Papers: this item is included in nep-his
References: Add references at CitEc
Citations: View citations in EconPapers (1) Track citations by RSS feed
Downloads: (external link)
http://www.cgeh.nl/sites/default/files/WorkingPape ... erduijnvanoosten.pdf (application/pdf)
This item may be available elsewhere in EconPapers: Search for items with the same title.
Export reference: BibTeX
RIS (EndNote, ProCite, RefMan)
Persistent link: https://EconPapers.repec.org/RePEc:ucg:wpaper:0065
Access Statistics for this paper
More papers in Working Papers from Utrecht University, Centre for Global Economic History University of Utrecht, Drift 10, The Netherlands. Contact information at EDIRC.
Bibliographic data for series maintained by Sarah Carmichael ().