EH439      Half Unit
History of Banking Systems

This information is for the 2022/23 session.

Teacher responsible

Dr Natacha Postel-Vinay


This course is available on the MSc in Financial History. This course is not available as an outside option.

Course content

This course introduces students to problematics around the history of banking. It explores the rise of financial intermediaries over the centuries and how their role evolved from simple money changers to money creators via lending. Banks can sometimes fail; historical causes of these failures as well as macroeconomic consequences will be explored, going from the 19C through the Great Depression to the 21C. Countries have historically been aware of the central tension between the necessity to save a financial system from collapse and the imperative of no moral hazard created in the process. By looking at the evolution of crisis resolution and aspects of preventive regulation students will gain a deep understanding of the history of banking in the developed world.


20 hours of seminars in the LT.

Formative coursework

Students will be expected to produce 1 essay and 1 presentation in the LT.

Indicative reading

  • Tooze, A. (2018). Crashed: How a Decade of Financial Crises Changed the World. London: Penguin Books.
  • Aliber, R., & Kindleberger, Charles P. (2015). Manias, panics and crashes: A history of financial crises (Seventh ed.). Palgrave.
  • Straumann, T. (2019). Debt, Crisis, and the Rise of Hitler. Oxford University Press.
  • Galbraith, J. K. (2009) [1954]. The Great Crash 1929. Penguin.
  • Bordo, M., Eichengreen, B., Klingebiel, D., & Martinez Peria, M. S. (2001). “Is the crisis problem growing more severe?”, Economic policy, 16(32), 52-82.


Essay (100%, 5000 words) in the LT Week 10.

Key facts

Department: Economic History

Total students 2021/22: Unavailable

Average class size 2021/22: Unavailable

Controlled access 2021/22: No

Value: Half Unit

Guidelines for interpreting course guide information

Course selection videos

Some departments have produced short videos to introduce their courses. Please refer to the course selection videos index page for further information.

Personal development skills

  • Leadership
  • Self-management
  • Team working
  • Problem solving
  • Application of information skills
  • Communication
  • Application of numeracy skills
  • Commercial awareness
  • Specialist skills