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Lending to the Borrower from HellDebt, Taxes, and Default in the Age of Philip II$
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Mauricio Drelichman and Hans-Joachim Voth

Print publication date: 2014

Print ISBN-13: 9780691151496

Published to Princeton Scholarship Online: October 2017

DOI: 10.23943/princeton/9780691151496.001.0001

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Serial Defaults, Serial Profits

Serial Defaults, Serial Profits

(p.173) Chapter 6 Serial Defaults, Serial Profits
Lending to the Borrower from Hell

Mauricio Drelichman

Hans-Joachim Voth

Princeton University Press

This chapter looks at the profitability of banking families. Lending to the king of Spain made good business sense; it was hugely profitable on average, despite periodic defaults and restructurings. Defaults and reschedulings reduced the rate of return, but profitability net of these losses was still high—and markedly higher than the return on alternative investments. The same conclusion emerges from analyzing the profitability of loans by the banking dynasty. Of the sixty families that lent to Philip, only five failed to earn their likely opportunity cost of capital—and these bankers provided only a negligible proportion of the short-term loans taken out by the king. As a consequence, few financiers ever stopped lending to Philip II.

Keywords:   banking families, defaults, profitability, investments, banking dynasty, short-term loans, capital

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