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Savings banks and working-class saving during the Swedish industrialisation

Savings banks and working-class saving during the Swedish industrialisation This article deals with savings banks and the extent to which they encouraged workers to save. A study of probate inventories from three Swedish towns shows that just 20–30 per cent of workers had assets in savings banks during the second half of the nineteenth century. Saving patterns differed greatly among groups of workers. Savings banks were most important for unskilled, unmarried women, but married workers were more likely to invest in, for example, real estate (1870s) and insurance (1900s). Family considerations greatly affected saving decisions, which detracted from the appeal of savings banks. Their emphasis on individual saving was more suitable for those who needed a flexible alternative to use for different saving needs. This flexibility also made it easier for savings banks to meet growing competition and can explain why they continued to attract workers in the twentieth century. Although savings banks never dominated the workers' saving arena, they probably promoted unmarried workers' awareness of the advantages of saving. Consequently, since all married workers had previously been unmarried, savings banks most likely contributed to fostering saving habits among the working class. http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png Financial History Review Cambridge University Press

Savings banks and working-class saving during the Swedish industrialisation

Financial History Review , Volume 23 (1): 22 – Mar 18, 2016

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References (51)

Publisher
Cambridge University Press
Copyright
Copyright © European Association for Banking and Financial History e.V. 2016 
ISSN
1474-0052
eISSN
0968-5650
DOI
10.1017/S0968565016000032
Publisher site
See Article on Publisher Site

Abstract

This article deals with savings banks and the extent to which they encouraged workers to save. A study of probate inventories from three Swedish towns shows that just 20–30 per cent of workers had assets in savings banks during the second half of the nineteenth century. Saving patterns differed greatly among groups of workers. Savings banks were most important for unskilled, unmarried women, but married workers were more likely to invest in, for example, real estate (1870s) and insurance (1900s). Family considerations greatly affected saving decisions, which detracted from the appeal of savings banks. Their emphasis on individual saving was more suitable for those who needed a flexible alternative to use for different saving needs. This flexibility also made it easier for savings banks to meet growing competition and can explain why they continued to attract workers in the twentieth century. Although savings banks never dominated the workers' saving arena, they probably promoted unmarried workers' awareness of the advantages of saving. Consequently, since all married workers had previously been unmarried, savings banks most likely contributed to fostering saving habits among the working class.

Journal

Financial History ReviewCambridge University Press

Published: Mar 18, 2016

Keywords: savings banks; workers; family structure; saving methods; G21; N23; N33

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