BizHisCol Webinar: Benefits offered by historical explanation to statistical studies in strategic management

23/03/2021 16.00 UK

Register here

Presenters: Sandeep Pillai (Bocconi University), Brent Goldfarb, and David Kirsch (University of Maryland)
Chair: Adam Nix (De Montfort University)


We contribute the literature on research methodologies in strategy research (CITE) and argue that historical explanation is essential to improve the internal validity, external validity, and objectivity of statistical reasoning. To enhance internal validity, tools used by historians offer statistical reasoning explanatory virtues, visibility across time and levels of analyses, the ability to identify mechanisms, and the ability to test that a proposed hypothesis is invariant. Explanatory practices followed by historians improved external validity because it provides readers with embedded generalizations from logically rigorous analytic narratives and contextualized thick descriptions that the readers can then use to determine whether the explanations are generalizable to contexts that are of interest to the readers. Further, to improve objectivity, historical explanation complements statistical reasoning through source criticism and hermeneutic interpretation, which enables the evaluation of inferences from the perspective of the authors of the records.

BizHisCol Webinar: Gender differential and financial inclusion in Spain: Female shareholders of Banco Hispano Americano (1922-1935)

09/03/2021 16.00 UK

Register here

Presenters: Susana Martínez-Rodríguez and Carmen María Hernández-Nicolás (University of Murcia)
Chair: Beatriz Rodríguez-Satizabal (Universidad del Pacífico/GHE UniAndes)

Within the context of financial modernization in Spain, the analysis of the female shareholders of Banco Hispano Americano (BHA hereafter) aims to contribute to a new narrative about financial inclusion and gender differential from a historical perspective. The bank first appeared as a modern corporation in 1900. The BHA was a modern national bank, spread all over the country, with an urban profile that attacked a large spectrum of shareholders, and surprisingly female shareholders. There is no previous literature in Spain that recollects on female shareholders. Therefore this study aims to make a first attempt to the literature on this prolific topic in Spain.

BizHisCol Webinar – Advertising, business, and neoliberalism under Pinochet in Chile

Presenters: Pablo Pryluka (Princeton University)
Chair: Ashton Merck (Duke University)

02/03/2021 16.00 UK

Register here

In July of 1974, the J. Walter Thompson advertising company signed a contract with the Chilean Junta in order to organize a global campaign to improve the international image of the dictatorship. Around two months later the agreement was made public, first in the United States and then around the world. The reaction was immediate—over the next few days, European and American JWT managers began to complain about the agreement. By the end of September, 1974, it was clear that the collaboration would have to be severed, which finally happened in October. The existence of such an agreement had some impact at the time, but afterwards remained almost unnoticed. So far, two approaches have hegemonized the history of the so-called neoliberal turn of the 1970s and 1980s. On the one hand, approaches coming from political economy and other social sciences underlined the impact of structural reforms on economic growth and inequality. On the other hand, the new histories of neoliberalism delved into the intellectual debates that preceded and supported the new economic policies, interested in tracing how these ideas traveled from the pen of Friedrich Hayek to global institutions and policymakers. This paper takes a different approach by returning a forgotten actor to the story: private companies. As the case of the J. Walter Thompson and its connection with the Chilean Military Junta illustrates, this methodological shift challenges the current narratives about the transformations of the 1970s and 1980s.

Business History Collective Spring Webinar series

We at the Business History Collective (Global) are pleased to announce our program for the spring webinar series, which will take place between March and June.These events are intended primarily as a platform to share and discuss ongoing research, including working papers, dissertation chapters, and manuscripts under review. As such, the series does not follow a particular theme or set of topics; however, we have tried to prioritize proposals of particular novelty, use of qualitative approaches, and historical periods preceding 1800 or subsequent to 1950.For this series, we have decided to include some ‘double features’ in the program. These longer sessions will host presentations from two speakers, allowing us to include as many papers as possible, while maintaining a manageable schedule.All events will be hosted on Zoom and bookable via Eventbrite. Sign-up links will be published on our various social media profiles and sent directly to our mailing list (sign-up here).We look forward to seeing you at our events.Program:

Ashton Merck (Duke University) and Adam Nix (De Montfort University)
Conveners Spring 2021
Business History Collective | Colectivo de Historia Empresarial

Follow us | Siguenos @bizhiscol

Reminder! BizHisCol Webinar – Manuel Bautista with Boatloads of Mexican Silver

Boatloads of Mexican Silver. The Political Economy of Specie Imports in New Orleans, 1839-1861

Date/Time: 16/02/2021 @ 16.00hrs UK
Presenter: Manuel Bautista (Columbia University)
Register here.

This paper reconstructs the monetary geography of antebellum New Orleans from the economic crisis of 1839 to the US. Navy’s blockade of the port in 1861 through a quantitative and geographic examination of specie imports (gold and silver coins) flowing into the port. It also sheds light into the commercial and financial actors, networks, and circuits involved in the intermediation of specie in New Orleans before the U.S. Civil War. Drawing on a novel dataset assembled from the semi-weekly economic newspaper New Orleans Price-Current (the first of its kind in the scholarly literature on specie in the early U.S. economy), the paper explores the amounts, the provenance, the types of vessels for maritime transportation, and the top-tier consignees of specie imports flowing into antebellum New Orleans. Specie (primarily Mexican silver dollars) helped accommodate the Crescent City’s cross-border flows of goods and capital, mirroring its commercial and financial ties with the rest of the world. New Orleans was central for the antebellum U.S. specie market and money supply, as it imported vast specie flows (primarily Mexican silver dollars) from ports such as Brazos Santiago (Texas), Veracruz, Tampico (both in Mexico), and Havana (Cuba). Specie consignees relied on high-powered money flows to fund their business ventures as commission merchants, commodity factors, real estate investors, and agents of European and U.S. Northern merchant banking houses.

This is a webinar is jointly hosted by the Business History Collective Global and Iberoamérica.

Biz Hist Coll: 26 January 2021

How to Start an Early Modern Tax Haven: Smuggling, Fraud and Global Business in Eighteenth-century Britain

Date: 26/01/2021 @ 16:00 hrs London

Speaker:  David Chan Smith (Wilfrid Laurier University)
Follow David here: @davidchansmith
Moderator: Nicholas Wong (Nortumbria University, Newcastle)
Register here. Abstract below.


Tired of paying high customs duties recently introduced by the government? Looking for a competitive advantage in overseas markets or to access other imperial trading systems? This talk investigates the emergence of early modern tax havens around Britain. Tax havens are often assumed to be a modern phenomenon that responded to the establishment of corporate and income taxes. Yet traders in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries made creative and routine use of the jurisdictional peculiarities that existed within Europe. Local and national elites who saw these havens as sources of income sponsored these efforts even though they frequently involved fraud and smuggling. This talk will survey the functioning of the early modern tax avoidance system around Britain, explore the development of these havens and the response of central government. To illustrate its arguments, the paper examines a case study of the Isle of Man and its establishment in the 1720s as a tax avoidance hub in the Atlantic slave trade.

Next event of Biz Hist Collective – 18 November

Paths Taken: The Strategic Trajectories of Retail Organisations in the United States and the United Kingdom, 1950-1980

Date: 18/11/2020 @ 16.00 hrs London
Speaker: Tom Buckely (Sheffield)
Moderator: Nicholas Wong (Northumbria)

Building on recent advances in knowledge relating to the evolution and transformation of retail institutions (Howard, 2015) and specific retail organisations (Scott and Walker, 2017; Buckley, 2018) this paper examines the strategic trajectories of retail organisations operating in the United States and the United Kingdom between 1950 and 1980. Taking an international comparative approach, the question this research seeks to answers is “how did the strategy of retail organisations develop over this thirty-year period and why did retail organisations take the strategic decisions that they did?” This question is addressed through utilising archival evidence from a department operating in the United Kingdom (the John Lewis Partnership) and the United States (Strawbridge and Clothier) and mass merchandisers operating in the UK (Marks and Spencer) and the U.S. (J.C. Penney). The archival data is utilised to examine both internal methods of organisation and managerial evaluations of the external environment retailers were operating in. The assessment of archival data reveals that each retailer took a different strategic direction, and that critical for the strategic success of the company, was the extent to which each retailer managed to construct a coherent, consistent retail proposition enabling them to function as an orchestrator of supply and demand. 

Register here.

All sessions at 10.00 Bogota / 16.00 hrs London

All speakers, abstracts and registration details available at:

Look forward to seeing you there!

On behalf of the Business History Collective

BizHist Collective: Roundtable on Slavery and Business History

Date: 14/10/2020 @ 16.00 hrs London

Speakers: Sherryllynne Haggerty (University of Nottingham), Rafael Pardo (Emory University), Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow)

Discussant: Cheryl McWatters (University of Ottawa)

Organiser/Hosts: Nicholas Wong and Andrew Perchard (both at Northumbria University)

Register here. See session abstracts below.

‘I am so chained down by my business to this spot’ Making Money in Jamaica, 1756

Sherryllynne Haggerty (University of Nottingham)

When Gilbert Ford wrote that he was ‘so chained down by my business’, he was of course alluding to the institution of slavery by which all free Jamaicans made their money, whether explicitly or implicitly. Ford was a planter, and one of the elite, however, this paper uses a rare set of letters sent from Jamaica in autumn 1756 to focus on the non elite. It asks how did non-elite free people contribute to, and benefit from, the local, regional and Atlantic economy of Jamaica? In 1756, despite the start of the Seven Years’ War, Jamaica was at the centre of Britain’s slave ‘system’ and its largest producer of sugar. The island produced huge wealth for white plantation owners at the expense of an enslaved labour force. However, this paper will demonstrate that for non-elites, men and women, white and of colour, there was a more complicated story.

On Bankruptcy’s Promethean Gap: Building Enslaving Capacity into the Antebellum Administrative State

Rafael Pardo (Emory University)

As the United States contends with the economic crisis triggered by the Covid-19 pandemic, should it continue to approach application of federal bankruptcy law to resolve issues of financial distress from the same perspective of the past 120 years—namely, that bankruptcy is about the resolution of private debt matters? To answer that question, this paper looks to modern U.S. bankruptcy law’s first forebear, the 1841 Bankruptcy Act, which Congress enacted in response to the depressed economic conditions following the Panic of 1837. New Orleans was among the cities that financially suffered the worst during that crisis. By the time of the Act, it was the nation’s third-most-populous city; its slave market was the nation’s largest; and its money market was one of the nation’s largest, if not the largest. This paper tells the cautionary tale about the bankruptcy administration and sale of Banks Arcade, a block-long, three-story building that was one of antebellum New Orleans’s premier commercial exchanges for auctioning enslaved African Americans. This history about how the federal administrative state restructured one component of the U.S. slavery complex should prompt us to think critically about what it means to manage the financial fallout from capitalistic excess through the bankruptcy system.

The University of Glasgow Model of Institutional Slavery Income

Stephen Mullen (University of Glasgow)

On 16 September 2018, the University of Glasgow released the report ‘Slavery, Abolition and the University of Glasgow’ that acknowledged slave-owners, merchants and planters with connections to New World slavery – and their descendants – donated capital between 1697 and 1937 that influenced the development of the institution. In doing so, the institution became the first British university to declare historical income derived from transatlantic slavery. In response to the report, a nine-point programme of reparative justice was launched, the first British university to launch a project on such a scale. This attracted global interest and was reported in The Times of London, the Guardian, and various other outlets in the Caribbean and the United States. Report authors estimated the university historically benefitted from income valued at, depending on which comparator was adopted, ranging from £16m to £198m (2016 values). Although the historical comparators were included simply as an estimation of scale, it is an imprecise science – the three different estimates are equally valid – the media reported the highest possible values. This paper discusses ‘The University of Glasgow Model of Institutional Slavery Income’; challenges, issues with the methodology; opportunities for further research, and potential transferability to other universities and institutions more broadly.

Biz Hist Collective are looking for a new editor to join


We are looking for one person to join the editorial board of the the Business History Collective (Global). What follows is an invitation for you to take an active part of this initiative, a brief explanation of the initiative itself and the tasks involved. 

Expressions of interest directly to me at Monday October 12, 2020.