This paper examines the role of women in private capital markets in northern Italy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. If bankers, financial dealers and major merchants were prevalent in the institutionalized credit markets, women proved crucial in private lending intermediated by notaries. The assets allowing them to participate in the credit market derived principally from their dowries, mainly consisting of cash but also in- cluding real estate. They used their properties — plots of land, a house or portion thereof — as collateral for mortgages, which were employed to meet family needs or to fund their hus- bands’ businesses, in some cases rescuing them from bankruptcy and safeguarding their reputation. The cash was invested in interest-rate loans: female capital was not mere “petty finance”. Many widows coming from the aristocracy or the urban elite had large sums at their disposal which were channelled into the circuits of credit to finance manufacturing, trade and agriculture, boosting silk production in some regions, the opening of new shops and partnerships in others, and promoting local and international commerce. A portion of this capital was also lent to rural communities for paying taxes, funding current expendi- tures, and building or modernizing infrastructure.

The other side of banking : Private lending and the role of women in early modern Italy / M. Lorenzini - In: Change and Transformation of Premodern Credit Markets : The Importance of Small-Scale Credits / [a cura di] S. Nicolussi-Köhler. - Prima edizione. - Heidelberg : heiBOOKS, 2021. - ISBN 978-3-948083-12-0. - pp. 177-197 (( convegno Change and Transformation of Premodern Credit Markets tenutosi a Heidelberg nel 2019.

The other side of banking : Private lending and the role of women in early modern Italy

M. Lorenzini
Primo
2021

Abstract

This paper examines the role of women in private capital markets in northern Italy in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. If bankers, financial dealers and major merchants were prevalent in the institutionalized credit markets, women proved crucial in private lending intermediated by notaries. The assets allowing them to participate in the credit market derived principally from their dowries, mainly consisting of cash but also in- cluding real estate. They used their properties — plots of land, a house or portion thereof — as collateral for mortgages, which were employed to meet family needs or to fund their hus- bands’ businesses, in some cases rescuing them from bankruptcy and safeguarding their reputation. The cash was invested in interest-rate loans: female capital was not mere “petty finance”. Many widows coming from the aristocracy or the urban elite had large sums at their disposal which were channelled into the circuits of credit to finance manufacturing, trade and agriculture, boosting silk production in some regions, the opening of new shops and partnerships in others, and promoting local and international commerce. A portion of this capital was also lent to rural communities for paying taxes, funding current expendi- tures, and building or modernizing infrastructure.
Informal credit market; notaries; women; early modern age; Italy
Settore SECS-P/12 - Storia Economica
https://books.ub.uni-heidelberg.de/heibooks/catalog/book/593/c12695
Book Part (author)
File in questo prodotto:
File Dimensione Formato  
4.The Other Side of banking.pdf

accesso aperto

Tipologia: Publisher's version/PDF
Dimensione 490.5 kB
Formato Adobe PDF
490.5 kB Adobe PDF Visualizza/Apri
Pubblicazioni consigliate

I documenti in IRIS sono protetti da copyright e tutti i diritti sono riservati, salvo diversa indicazione.

Utilizza questo identificativo per citare o creare un link a questo documento: https://hdl.handle.net/2434/893380
Citazioni
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.pmc??? ND
  • Scopus ND
  • ???jsp.display-item.citation.isi??? ND
social impact