• · “Eight centuries of global real rates, R-G, and the ‘suprasecular’ decline, 1311-2018”.


Bank of England SWP 845, Jan. 2020.


Data underlying Bank of England, SWP 845 (January 2020 version 1.2).

With recourse to archival, printed primary, and secondary sources, this paper reconstructs global real interest rates on an annual basis going back to the 14th century, covering 78% of advanced economy GDP over time. I show that across successive monetary and fiscal regimes, and a variety of asset classes, real interest rates have not been ‘stable’, and that since the major monetary upheavals of the late middle ages, a trend decline between 0.6–1.6 basis points per annum has prevailed. A gradual increase in real negative‑yielding rates in advanced economies over the same horizon is identified, despite important temporary reversals such as the 17th Century Crisis. Against their long‑term context, currently depressed sovereign real rates are in fact converging ‘back to historical trend’ — a trend that makes narratives about a ‘secular stagnation’ environment entirely misleading, and suggests that — irrespective of particular monetary and fiscal responses — real rates could soon enter permanently negative territory. I also posit that the return data here reflects a substantial share of ‘non‑human wealth’ over time: the resulting R-G series derived from this data show a downward trend over the same timeframe: suggestions about the ‘virtual stability’ of capital returns, and the policy implications advanced by Piketty (2014) are in consequence equally unsubstantiated by the historical record.


  • Book project: "Eight centuries of Global Real Interest Rates, 1311-2018" (under contract with Yale University Press).




  • “Banking Crises interventions, 1257-2020” (with Andrew Metrick), Nov. 2020 version.


We present a new database documenting banking-crises interventions over several centuries, spanning interventions from 13th century Bruges’ financial market to policy actions in China and Germany in 2019. We classify such policy interventions across 21 categories, and provide monthly or annual intervention dates across 121 countries, as well as details on the nature of the respective intervention. Our database incorporates all main existing “banking-crisis chronologies” offered over the past years, and in addition provides a large number of cases which are not associated with existing “systemic crisis events”. The database thus allows a comprehensive study of both successful and unsuccessful policy responses – including cases in which a timely intervention prevented the emergence of a systemic crisis. We proceed to document the long-run evolution in policy intervention measures over time: while liquidity assistance measures have historically been the most frequently-used crisis intervention policy choice, there appears to have been a decisive shift in the post-1945 period towards an increasing reliance on capital injection- and asset management policies.



  • "Central Bank balance sheet expansions and the macroeconomy, 1587-2020" (with Moritz Schularick, Niall Ferguson, and Martin Kornejew), work-in-progress.