Prof. Flandreau wins prize for joint article “The Peaceful Conspiracy”.
From left: Marc Flandreau, Juan Flores
The Swiss Network for International Studies has announced that Professor Flandreau will receive its annual International Geneva Award for an article he co-authored with Juan Flores of the University of Geneva, entitled “The Peaceful Conspiracy: Bond Markets and International Relations During the Pax Britannica”.
Every year SNIS gives International Geneva Awards to authors for original and interdisciplinary research that is policy relevant to international organisations.
The award winning article provides foundations to the argument by Karl Polanyi, the father of modern international political economy, that the monopoly power of the global capital market served as an instrument of peace during the nineteenth century by limiting its funding of wars. The argument, however, ran into theoretical complications because nobody could explain why a competitive capital market could act collectively. Marc Flandreau and Juan Flores take a novel approach and focus on the role of intermediaries. Their article shows that when information is imperfect, a role can be played by “prestigious” intermediaries who enjoy a monopoly position in quality provision and as a result, can control government actions. Prestigious intermediaries can implement conditional lending: they subject the distribution of credit to the adoption of peaceful policies. Prestigious intermediaries act that way because of their concern with maintaining an unblemished track record when wars increased risks of default. Thus, their pacifying attitude had nothing to do with the Red Cross, and much to do with self interest. The analysis, which brings together insights from history, political science and economics, is an illustration of the Graduate Institute's trademark in cross-disciplinary thinking.
Faculty member since 2008, Professor Marc Flandreau is a world expert in the history of the international monetary and financial system. He runs the Historical Imagination Project, supported by Yves Mirabaud. The award receiving paper is a product of the Historical Imagination Project.
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