Why Did Public Debt Originate in Europe?1

  • David Stasavage
  • Published 2014


Medieval Europe was in many ways an economic backwater. Why then did such a region give birth to the distinctly modern innovation of public debt? In this short piece I consider what political, military, and institutional factors distinguished Europe from other world regions. I then suggest how these factors in‡uenced the development of public credit. 

1 Figure or Table