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2023/2024  KAN-CPHIV1803U  Historical Foundations of Financial Institutions and Markets

English Title
Historical Foundations of Financial Institutions and Markets

Course information

Language English
Course ECTS 7.5 ECTS
Type Elective
Level Full Degree Master
Duration One Quarter
Start time of the course First Quarter
Timetable Course schedule will be posted at calendar.cbs.dk
Max. participants 60
Study board
Study Board for BSc/MSc in Business Administration and Philosophy, MSc
Course coordinator
  • Per H. Hansen - Department of Business Humanities and Law (BHL)
The course is taught by a group of professors from the Center for Business history
Main academic disciplines
  • Finance
  • Management
  • Strategy
Teaching methods
  • Face-to-face teaching
Last updated on 29-03-2023

Relevant links

Learning objectives
Demonstrate a thorough and critical understanding of the course literature

Demonstrate an excellent ability to use the course literature to analyze problems with relation to the historical role and development of financial markets and financial institutions

Demonstrate an excellent ability to understand and analyze how historical narratives of financial institutions and the financial industry may shape present and future performance

Demonstrate an excellent ability to communicate and discuss his or her findings and understanding of the subject and the course readings
Historical Foundations of Financial Institutions and Markets:
Exam ECTS 7,5
Examination form Home assignment - written product
Individual or group exam Individual exam
Size of written product Max. 10 pages
Assignment type Written assignment
Release of assignment The Assignment is released in Digital Exam (DE) at exam start
Duration 72 hours to prepare
Grading scale 7-point grading scale
Examiner(s) One internal examiner
Exam period Autumn
Make-up exam/re-exam
Same examination form as the ordinary exam
Course content, structure and pedagogical approach

Historical Foundations of Financial Institutions and Markets focuses on banks and the shifting role, and view of, of finance in society, and the institutional framework in which finance has been embedded. This means that the course does not attempt to cover all aspects of financial institutions and markets in all its chronological and geographical diversity. Rather, the course provides a historical and institutional perspective on the development of financial markets, financial crises, central banks and regulation as well monetary regimes. The historical focus enables students to critically understand and discuss the development and dynamics of the financial industry, including individual financial firms in their historical context. The course also considers how perceptions of the past constrain strategies and decisions in the present, and how such decisions have contributed to financial instability.

Description of the teaching methods
The course is based partly on lectures and partly on discussion.

Due to the partly discussion based character of most classes, all students are expected to be well prepared for class, and to participate in any groupwork and/or student presentations.
Feedback during the teaching period
Feedback in relation to lectures and cases is integrated into the respective classes.
Student workload
Class teaching 30 hours
Preparation for classes 146 hours
Exam preparation 30 hours
Further Information

"Historical foundations of financial institutions and markets" is part of the minor "Financial Decision-Making in a Social Context".


Expected literature

Preliminary course literature (final course literature will be announced well before semester start)


Beckert, Jens, "How Do Fields Change? The Interrelations of Institutions, Networks, and Cognition in the Dynamics of Markets", Organization Studies, 2010, vol. 31, no. 5, pp. 605-27


Beckert, Jens & Richard Bronk, Uncertain Futures. Imaginaries, Narratives, and Calculative Technologies, MPIfG Discussion Paper 19/10, Max Planck Institute for the Study of Societies, Cologne, 2019. http:/​/​hdl.handle.net/​21.11116/​0000-0005-C748-A


Bordo, Michael, “An historical perspective on the quest for financial stability and the monetary regime”, The Journal of Economic History, vol. 78, no 2, 2018, pp. 319-357


Cassis, Youssef, “Banking and finance in Europe since 1945”, In Hesse, Jan et al, Perspectives on European Economic and Social History, Baden-Baden, Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, 2014, pp. 47-72


Cassis, Youssef & Giuseppe Telesca, “Financial Crises and the Public Discourse on Financial Elites A Comparison between the Great Depression and the Great Recession”, in Youssef Cassis & Giuseppe Telesca (eds), Financial Elites in European Banking. Historical Perspectives, OUP 2018, pp. 17-39


Eichengreen, Barry & Peter Temin, “Fetters of Gold and Paper”, Oxford Review of Economic Policy, Vol. 26, no. 3, 2010, pp. 370-384.


Feldman, Gerald D, (1994), “Jakob Goldschmidt, the History of the Banking Crisis of 1931, and the Problem of Freedom of Manoeuvre in the Weiman Economy”, in Christoph Buchheim, Michael Hutter & Harold James (eds), Zerissene Zwischenkriegszeit. Wirtschaftshistorische Beiträge. Knut Borchardt zum 65. Geburtstag, Baden-Baden: Nomos Verlagsgesellschaft, pp. 307-27.


Fichtner, Ullrich, Hauke Goos & Martin Hesse, “The Deutsche Bank Downfall. How a Pillar of German Banking Lost Its Way”, Spiegel Online, October 28, 2016.


Grossman, Richard S., “Regulation” in Richard Grossman, Unsettled Account. The Evolution of Banking in the Industrialized World Since 1800, Princeton University Press 2010, pp. 128-168


Hamilton, Stewart & Alicia Micklethwait, ”Enron: Paper Profits, Cash Losses”, in Greed and Corporate Failure. The Lessons From Recent Disasters, Palgrave MacMillan: New York 2006. Chapter 3, pp. 33-58


Ho, Karen, “Disciplining Investment Bankers, Disciplining the Economy: Wall Street’s Institutional Culture of Crisis and the Downsizing of “Corporate America”, American Anthropologist, Vol. 111, No. 2, June 2009, 177-89


Hansen, Per H., “Organizational Culture and Organizational Change: A Narrative analysis of the Transformation of Savings Banks in Denmark, 1965-1990”, Enterprise & Society, Vol. 8, no. 4, 2007, pp. 920-53


Hansen, Per H., “Making Sense of Financial Crisis and Scandal. A Danish Bank Failure in the Era of Finance Capitalism.” Enterprise & Society, 2012, vol 13, no. 4, 672-706


Hansen, Per H., "From finance capitalism to financialization: A Cultural and narrative perspective on 150 years of financial history", Enterprise & Society, 2014, vol. 15, no. 4, pp. 605-42


Huertas, Thomas F. & Silverman, Joan L. (1986), “Charles E. Mitchel: Scapegoat of the Crash”, Business History Review, Vol. 60, No. 1, pp. 81-103.


Jenkins, Patrick & Laura Noonan, ”How Deutsche Bank’s high-stakes gamble went wrong”, Financial Times, November 9, 2017


Jones, Geoffrey & Ingrid Vargas, ”Ivar Kreuger and the Swedish Match Empire”, HBS Case, 9-804-078, 2016 (HBS Case, download from https:/​/​hbsp.harvard.edu/​import/​845082 )


McNamara Christian M., Thomas Piontek, and Andrew Metrick, “Basel III A: Regulatory History”, Yale Program on Financial Stability Case Study 2014-1A-V1, November 2014. (Yale Case, download from https:/​/​som.yale.edu/​case/​2014/​basel-iii-regulatory-history )


McNamara, Christian M., Michael Wedow, and Andrew Metrick, Basel III B: Basel III Overview, Yale Program on Financial Stability Case Study 2014-1B-V1, November 2014. (Yale Case, download from https:/​/​som.yale.edu/​case/​2014/​basel-iii-b-basel-iii-overview )


Moss, David, ”The Deutsche Bank”, in Thomas McCraw, Creating Modern Capitalism. How Entrepreneurs, Companies, and Countries Triumphed in Three Industrial Revolutions, Harvard University Press, 1997, pp. 229-63


Moss, David, Cole Bolton & Andrew Novo, Danatbank, HBS Case, 2010 (HBS Case, download from https:/​/​hbsp.harvard.edu/​import/​845082 )


Moss, David, Cole Bolton & Eugene Kintgen, The Pecora Hearings, HBS Case, 2010 (HBS Case, download from https:/​/​hbsp.harvard.edu/​import/​845082 )


North, Douglas C., “Institutions and the Performance of Economies Over Time” in Claude Menard & Mary M. Shirley, Handbook of New Institutional Economics, Dordrecht, 2005, pp. 21-30.


Schäfer, Daniel, “Deutsche Bank Economist criticises the Josef Ackermann era”, Handelsblatt.com, 21 May, 2018, https:/​/​www.handelsblatt.com/​finanzen/​banken-versicherungen/​david-folkerts-landau-im-interview-chefvolkswirt-der-deutschen-bank-rechnet-mit-der-aera-von-josefackermann-ab/​22580552.html (English Translation)



Last updated on 29-03-2023