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When Belongings Secure Credit…: Pawning and Pawners in Interwar Borås
Uppsala University, Disciplinary Domain of Humanities and Social Sciences, Faculty of Social Sciences, Department of Economic History.ORCID iD: 0000-0003-1834-6176
2016 (English)Doctoral thesis, monograph (Other academic)
Abstract [en]

This dissertation deals with pawning primarily from the perspective of the pawners. It utilises two samples from the ledgers of a municipal pawnshop in Borås in western Sweden, from 1922/23 and 1932/33. Its aim is to deal with the relation between the material and financial side of pawning as well as the causes behind pawning. One of the results of the study is that most pawn loans were very small, which means that pawning probably was connected to income insufficiency. It showed that weekly repeated pawning, which has been proposed in previous research as a common pattern, was nearly non-existent. Instead, most pawners were occasional customers at the pawnshop.

It was shown that certain collateral (such as clothes and decorative objects) affected the length of the redemption time. This meant that pawners had the ability to redeem a pledge quickly – if they had a need for the item. However, at the same time, pawns could remain for a long time in the pawnshop, which indicates that repaying the loan was difficult for the pawner. Otherwise, they should have acted to minimise the interest they had to pay for the loan. For the pawner the payment of the loan likely meant foregoing much needed consumption in the present.

According to this study, variability of income was a more important cause for pawning than the size of income. Pawn loans likely countered short-term variation in income or expenditures. However, it could not help against long-term unemployment. The study also investigated if pawning was affected by the life cycle, but found no clear relationship. The study showed that most of the customers at the pawnshop were male, which goes against most of the previous research. Another of the study’s result was that women’s pawning, but not men’s pawning, was connected to the presence of children in the household, and women had also more children than men did. Having many children had also an effect on women’s pawning, but not on men’s. The study considers that it seems like women pawned more due to family needs than men did.

Place, publisher, year, edition, pages
Uppsala: Acta Universitatis Upsaliensis, 2016. , 279 p.
Uppsala Studies in Economic History, ISSN 0346-6493 ; 107
Keyword [en]
Pawning, Pawners, Pawnshops, Credit, Consumption Credit, Debt, Working class, Workers, Life Cycle, Gender, Borås, interwar
Keyword [sv]
Pantsättning, Pantlån, Pantbanker, Kredit, Konsumtionskrediter, Skuld, Arbetarklass, Arbetare, Livscykel, Genus, Borås, mellankrigstiden
National Category
Economic History
Research subject
Economic History
URN: urn:nbn:se:uu:diva-303601ISBN: 978-91-554-9695-1OAI: diva2:972458
Public defence
2016-11-04, Hörsal 2, Ekonomikum, Kyrkogårdsgatan 10, Uppsala, 13:15 (Swedish)
Available from: 2016-10-13 Created: 2016-09-20 Last updated: 2016-10-19

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Kenttä, Tony
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