Wednesday 1st to Thursday 2nd July 2020
The saving behaviour of households and individuals still belongs to the puzzling issues of economic theory. It seems largely unaffected by some of the most important macro-economic indicators, like interest rates or inflation rates. The setting of interest rates, too, has been found in need of explanation as the relation between nominal interest rates and inflation has been contradicting economists' expectations since Fisher´s "paradox". The puzzling nature of price movements and saving behaviour makes them a perfect object for research in economic history. Formal and hermeneutic approaches to economic history can be combined to understand economic decision-making in a changing social and institutional setting.
On July 1st and 2nd, 2020, a group of four collaborating research projects (Conrad; Hesse/Knake; Lehmann-Hasemeyer/Streb; Teupe) that are part of the Priority Programme initiated a 2-day workshop to provide an opportunity for discussing the determinants of saving in a historical perspective. We invited internationally renowned experts on the history and theory of saving decisions – Jan Logemann, Dan Wadhwani, and Joachim Winter -who gave inspiring impulses. In addition, three projects were selected based on a Call for Papers that dealt with symbols of thrift and waste from a sociological perspective (Philipp Neeb), interest rate sensitivity of depositors in Wuerttemberg between 1887 to 1913 from an econometric perspective (Andreas Neumayer; Thorsten Proettel), and the analysis of saving behaviour, based on household accounts over three generations (Lilian Zafiri). Due to the Covid-19 situation the workshop had to be restructured as a virtual workshop at short time notice instead of the on-site workshop at the University of Bayreuth that had been originally planned. All participants stayed on board, and agreed to this "experiment".
The experiment was successful. We had vibrant and thoughtful discussions across disciplinary divisions in small break-out groups and the plenary, interesting projects and insights, and - despite the distance between all participants - a spirit of scientific community and collaboration. The topic of saving behaviour of households and individuals across time has proven a promising ground on which the interdisciplinary potential of the Priority Programme can fully play out. We intend to use the experience of the workshop as a stepping stone for further collaboration. Anyone interested in the topic and future collaboration is welcome to contact the organizers.