My Undergrad Dissertation: Credit Expansion and the Bank of England in the Panic of 1825

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I recently completed my third and final year of undergraduate studies in Economic History at the London School of Economics. A quarter of one’s grade for the final year at the LSE takes the form of a 10,000-word undergraduate dissertation, which I have decided to share here for anyone who might be interested to look at it.

The central argument of my dissertation is that the Panic of 1825 was caused by the British banking system’s expansion of credit in the years 1822-25. This can be regarded as an application of Ludwig von Mises’ Austrian Theory of the Business Cycle to the 1825 crisis. Where my dissertation departs from the previous literature, which has occasionally already highlighted the role of credit expansion in the crisis to some degree, is in my examination of the role of Bank of England note issues as a coordinating and driving force behind the wider credit expansion, due to the legally privileged status of Bank of England notes.

I am reasonably happy with the work and research I put into this dissertation, and with how it turned out. I personally preferred the first draft, from before I received my supervisor’s comments on it, as they advised me to cut part of my beloved literature review and add the over-explaining ‘Theory, Method, and Data’ section to the final draft you see here.  Nevertheless, I was reasonably happy with it, and hope it will receive a respectable final mark. I got its provisional mark back the other day, which was 85, where 70 and above is a first class degree, and marks of 80 and above are reserved for work of publishable quality, and only awarded in exceptional circumstances. Prior to this dissertation, even the best essay of my entire academic career had only been a 78, with a handful of 75s and 74s in my record; I didn’t think a mark as high as 85 was even possible in the idiosyncratic English marking system for social sciences. The comments from my two anonymous markers were also fairly positive.

As I write this I am currently spending the summer of 2018 at the Ludwig von Mises Institute as a Fellow in Residence, where I am working on re-writing the core research of my dissertation into the format of an academic article which I hope to submit for publication with a journal. So hopefully I’ll manage to make some use of the work that went into this dissertation.

Until then, however, you can read and/or download it in PDF form by clicking this link: https://papers.ssrn.com/sol3/papers.cfm?abstract_id=3194827

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