Go Back

Photo of Mauricio Drelichman

Mauricio Drelichman Economic Historian

Mauricio Drelichman’s research explores the nature of state institutions in Early Modern Europe. His recent work on sovereigh debt markets has shown how sovereign defaults could function as insurance devices, shielding both monarchs and bankers from the worst effects of large, unanticipated adverse situations. His archival research into the debt contracts of Philip II of Spain uncovered a variety of sophisticated and novel debt instruments, most notably contracts that were contingent on specific events. Prof. Drelichman currently leads a project on the long term economic, political, and social effects of the Spanish Inquisition.

Drelichman’s previous work focused on the nature of the urban economy in early modern Toledo; the structure of the Spanish nobility and its impact on local economies; the role that apparently inefficient institutions can play when when legal systems are too rigid to adapt to a changing economic environment; and the interaction between resource windfalls and institutions.


"Explorations Prize" for best article published in Explorations in Economic History, 2010/2011.

"Explorations Prize" for best article published in Explorations in Economic History, 2005/2006.

Relevant Publications

M. Drelichman and H-J. Voth, "Risk Sharing with the Monarch: Contingent Debt and Excusable Default in the Age of Philip II, 1556-1598," Cliometrica, vol. 9, no. 1, pp. 49-75, Jan. 2015.

M. Drelichman and H-J. Voth,“Serial Defaults, Serial Profits: Returns to Sovereign Lending in Habsburg Spain, 1566-1600.” Explor. Econ. Hist., vol. 48, no. 1, pp. 1-19. Jan. 2011.

M. Drelichman and H-J. Voth, “The Sustainable Debts of Philip II: A Reconstruction of Castile’s Fiscal Position, 1560-1598.” J. Econ. Hist., vol. 70, no. 4, pp. 814-843, Dec. 2010.

M. Drelichman, “License to Till: The Spanish Mesta as a Case of Second-Best Institutions.” Explor. Econ. Hist., vol. 46, no. 2, pp. 220-240. Apr. 2009.

M. Drelichman, "The Curse of Moctezuma: American Silver and the Dutch Disease.”Explor. Econ. Hist., vol. 42, no. 3, pp.349-380. July 2005.


M. Drelichman, Lending to the Borrower from Hell: Debt, Taxes and Default in the Age of Philip II., Princeton: Princeton University Press, 2014.



Fellow Institutions, Organizations & Growth


University of British ColumbiaVancouver School of Economics


PhD (Economics) Northwestern University

Certificate in Law and Social Science Northwestern University

Magister (Economics) Universidad de San Andrés

Licenciate (Economics) Universidad de San Andrés



Ideas Related to Mauricio Drelichman

Announcement | Institutions, Organizations & Growth

Research on 16th century king reveals lessons on lending

In an age of instability in global debt markets, can the risks of sovereign lending be brought under control? A...