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Title: The Scottish stock exchanges in the nineteenth century
Author: Michie, R. C.
ISNI:       0000 0001 3397 4985
Awarding Body: University of Aberdeen
Current Institution: University of Aberdeen
Date of Award: 1978
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The published financial history of nineteenth century Scotland reveals strange discrepancies. Certain areas have been studied in considerable depth, with many articles, monographs, and general studies devoted to them. In particular, the history of Scottish banking possesses a large and worthy literature, including contributions from some of Scotland's foremost economic historians. Scottish overseas investment has also been the subject of considerable research, especially investment in the western United States. Other financial topics of no less importance have been virtually ignored. Almost nothing is known about the Scottish insurance companies despite the substantial international role that they played. More is known concerning the stock exchanges, but it is insufficient to provide more than a surface sketch. Consequently, one of the aims of this thesis is partially to rectify a major imbalance in Scottish economic history by giving a detailed description of the development of the Scottish share market up to 1900. However, the thesis attempts more: than that. The appearance of stockbrokers and the establishment of stock exchanges in Scotland was a product of the growth of joint-stock enterprise. Without the securities issued by these concerns there would have been no need for a share market. Consequently, the thesis traces the history of the joint-stock company in Scotland during the nineteenth century. Also, stock exchange securities were not the only openings to investors for their idle funds, and nor were these stocks and shares consistently popular with investors. Therefore, the thesis examines the nature of investment in general, and the factors that influenced the investor's decisions of when to invest, where to invest, and what to invest in. In order to achieve these objectives it was necessary to go beyond the study of the stock exchanges themselves and the records they possessed. The minutes, correspondence, lists and recorded transactions of the stock exchanges did provide invaluable information. However, it was only by consulting a wide range of other contemporary material, supplemented by secondary accounts, that the activities of the stock exchanges, joint-stock companies, and investors could be properly understood. Even the stock exchange records that were of great use had to be processed before their secrets were revealed. In the case of the transactions of the Aberdeen Stock Exchange, it was only by classifying the companies being traded and measuring the value of business in each category from month to month, that an accurate picture of the changing nature and value of turnover could be discovered. Without adopting this methodology it would have been impossible to study either the changes in stock exchange business or the forces affecting investment. Also it was considered important to assess the relative significance of stockbrokers and stock exchanges and understand the functions they performed. The period before either appeared was studied so as to permit an evaluation of the novelty of the contribution made by the new profession and its institutions. Contemporary economic conditions, especially current trends in investment, were investigated in order to place the activities of both stockbrokers and stock exchanges, in perspective, rather than leave them isolated from their historical context. Finally, the specific contributions of the stockbroker and the stock exchange to investment were examined as well as the contribution of the share market as a whole. In short, the aim of the thesis has been to study the evolution of a major Scottish financial institution within the economic environment in which it operated.
Supervisor: Not available Sponsor: Not available
Qualification Name: Thesis (Ph.D.) Qualification Level: Doctoral
EThOS ID:  DOI: Not available