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Did Nordic Countries Recognize the Gathering Storm of World War II? Evidence from the Bond Markets


Waldenström, Daniel; Frey, Bruno S (2005). Did Nordic Countries Recognize the Gathering Storm of World War II? Evidence from the Bond Markets. Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics No. 336, University of Zurich.

Abstract

This paper analyzes and compares different ways of assessing how people perceived impending threats of war in the past. Conventional Nordic historiography of World War IInclaims there were few, if any, people in the Nordic countries who perceived a significantlynincreased threat of war between 1938 and early 1940. At the same time, historical methodsnface problems when it comes to capturing the often tacitly held beliefs of a large numbernof people in the past. In this paper, we analyze these assessments by looking at suddennshifts in sovereign debt yields and spreads in the Nordic bond markets at that time. Ournresults suggest that Nordic contemporaries indeed perceived significant war risk increasesnaround the time of major war-related geopolitical events. While these findings questionnsome – but not all – of standard Nordic World War II historiography, they also demonstrate the value of analyzing historical market prices to reassess the often tacitly held views and opinions of large groups of people in the past.

Abstract

This paper analyzes and compares different ways of assessing how people perceived impending threats of war in the past. Conventional Nordic historiography of World War IInclaims there were few, if any, people in the Nordic countries who perceived a significantlynincreased threat of war between 1938 and early 1940. At the same time, historical methodsnface problems when it comes to capturing the often tacitly held beliefs of a large numbernof people in the past. In this paper, we analyze these assessments by looking at suddennshifts in sovereign debt yields and spreads in the Nordic bond markets at that time. Ournresults suggest that Nordic contemporaries indeed perceived significant war risk increasesnaround the time of major war-related geopolitical events. While these findings questionnsome – but not all – of standard Nordic World War II historiography, they also demonstrate the value of analyzing historical market prices to reassess the often tacitly held views and opinions of large groups of people in the past.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Working Paper
Communities & Collections:03 Faculty of Economics > Department of Economics
Working Paper Series > Institute for Empirical Research in Economics (former)
Dewey Decimal Classification:330 Economics
Language:English
Date:October 2005
Deposited On:29 Nov 2011 22:31
Last Modified:07 Dec 2017 10:11
Series Name:Working paper series / Institute for Empirical Research in Economics
ISSN:1424-0459
Official URL:http://www.econ.uzh.ch/wp.html

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