I am a medieval historian with particular interests in economic, urban and social history. My research combines qualitative and quantitative approaches and takes a comparative chronological and geographical approach.
Catherine Casson received her PhD from the Department of History, University of York in 2009. Her thesis on ‘A Comparative Study of Prosecutions for Forgery in Trade and Manufacturing in Six English Towns, 1250 to 1400’ was supervised by Prof. Mark Ormrod and Dr. Sarah Rees Jones. She is currently developing her thesis into articles for submission to academic journals. A paper and presentation based on her thesis was awarded the Economic History Society’s New Researcher Prize.
Catherine was appointed Research Assistant for the European State Finance Database in 2009-2010 and Research Fellow at the Winton Institute for Monetary History, Ashmolean Museum, University of Oxford in 2011.
Catherine is currently working on two research projects. The first project, on ‘Reputation and Economic Performance in English Towns and Cities, 1250-1500’ develops an aspect of her PhD. The project examines royal, civic and guild records in order to consider the origins and development of reputation as an economic and political asset. Reputation is the belief by one group of people that an individual or organisation can confidently be expected to behave in a certain way. Good reputation stimulates trade and investment but the loss of reputation, e.g. through bank failures, can turn everyday problems into major crises. The project will examine four aspects of reputation: which organisations and individuals possessed reputation (the owners); who their reputation was with (the audience); what their reputation was for; and the reason for the reputation.
Through a comparative and systematic analysis of the records of the primary sources of a number of English towns and cities, the project seeks to examine the following questions: Was the success of individual towns explained by location, proximity to natural resources, nature of trade and administrative privileges alone, or did it also depend upon a good reputation? Did individuals and institutions who invested the most in reputation achieve the most prosperity? Did different individuals and institutions co-operate in order to share in the benefits of their ‘corporate’ reputation? Did economic crises occur when individuals and institutions lost their reputation with those who invested in them or traded with them?
The second strand of Catherine’s research is a collaborative project with a mathematician and an economist. This project uses wage data and commodity price data to examine whether events such as the Good Parliament of 1376, the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the Great Reform Act of 1832 represented structural breaks caused by institutional change or if, in fact, those centuries were periods of short run fluctuations with no big breaks.