Risk and Return in Roman Egypt: evidence for a financially rational market?
The aim of my PhD is to show how individuals in Roman Egypt thought about financial issues through the choices they made in day to day transactions and thus to provide insights on the Roman economy more widely. As such the question ties into broader critical debates such as the “modernity” of the Roman economy, the quantification of its development and how the existence of financial markets may relate to economic theory, including New Institutional Economics. A central issue is the degree to which a true financial “market” existed. The key sources to be examined are the papyri from the period: a substantial body of evidence, consisting of leases, sales and loans. These documents have typically been examined from a legal perspective, so the originality of this approach will be to analyse on a statistical basis the thousands of available texts.