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Carnevali, Francesca

As an economic and social historian I am interested in understanding how the forces of capitalism have shaped the lives of people and changed the structures of societies. My approach to history is comparative and this means that I spend most of my research time abroad, thanks to the generous funding provided by a number of Economic and Social Research Council grants. I have held visiting positions in the United States at Harvard and at Brown University. In 2011 I was awarded the Alfred Chandler International Scholar fellowship by the Harvard Busienss School.

Since starting my PhD I have published widely on a number of subjects, all related to the history of firms, large and small, private and state-owned, in Britain and in other European countries. I have also spent an inordinate length of time in banks’ archives searching for the link between banks, firms and local economic development. For the last couple years I have been working on a new project comparing two industrial districts, one in Birmingham (UK) and one in Providence (Rhode Island, USA). These both started producing jewellery in the early part of the 19th century and this project compares how over time these two communities of manufacturers organised their work and their relations among each other, with the city and the state and with consumers. These two case studies address general issues that have been long debated by economic historians: do entrepreneurs trust each other and why should they? How are their business decisions shaped by their social context and the specific historical period they are living? How do institutions (local and national) influence their activities

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