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Mauricio Drelichman


  • Fellow
  • Institutions, Organizations & Growth


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Mauricio Drelichman, an economic historian, explores the nature of state institutions in early modern Europe.

His recent work on sovereign debt markets has shown how sovereign defaults could function as insurance devices, shielding both monarchs and bankers from the worst effects of large, unanticipated adverse situations. His archival research into the debt contracts of Philip II of Spain uncovered a variety of sophisticated and novel debt instruments, most notably contracts that were contingent on specific events. Drelichman currently leads a project on the long-term economic, political and social effects of the Spanish Inquisition.

His previous work focused on the nature of the urban economy in early modern Toledo; the structure of the Spanish nobility and its impact on local economies; the role that apparently inefficient institutions can play when legal systems are too rigid to adapt to a changing economic environment; and the interaction between resource windfalls and institutions.


  • Explorations Prize for best article published in Explorations in Economic History, 2010/2011
  • Explorations Prize for best article published in Explorations in Economic History, 2005/2006

Relevant Publications

  • Drelichman, M., and H-J. Voth. "Risk Sharing with the Monarch: Contingent Debt and Excusable Default in the Age of Philip II, 1556-1598." Cliometrica 9, no. 1 (January 2015): 49–75.
  • Drelichman, M., and H-J. Voth. “Serial Defaults, Serial Profits: Returns to Sovereign Lending in Habsburg Spain, 1566-1600.” Explor. Econ. Hist. 48, no. 1 (January 2011): 1–19.
  • Drelichman, M., and H-J. Voth. “The Sustainable Debts of Philip II: A Reconstruction of Castile’s Fiscal Position, 1560-1598.” J. Econ. Hist. 70, no. 4 (December 2010): 814–43.
  • Drelichman, M. “License to Till: The Spanish Mesta as a Case of Second-Best Institutions.” Explor. Econ. Hist. 46, no. 2 (April 2009): 220–40.
  • Drelichman, M. "The Curse of Moctezuma: American Silver and the Dutch Disease.” Explor. Econ. Hist. 42, no. 3 (July 2005): 349–80.
  • Drelichman, M. Lending to the Borrower from Hell: Debt, Taxes and Default in the Age of Philip II. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2014.

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