Professor Catherine Schenk
- Deputy Head of College / Professor of International Economic History (Economic and Social History)
Catherine Schenk FRHS, AcSS is Professor of International Economic History at the University of Glasgow. She gained her PhD at the London School of Economics and has held academic posts at Royal Holloway, University of London, Victoria University of Wellington and visiting positions at the International Monetary Fund and the Hong Kong Monetary Authority as well as the University of Hong Kong and Nottingham Business School campus in Seminyeh Malaysia. She is Associate Fellow in the international economics department at Chatham House in London. Her research focuses on international monetary and financial relations after 1945 with a particular emphasis on East Asia and the United Kingdom. She is the author of several books including International Economic Relations since 1945 (2011) and The Decline of Sterling: managing the retreat of an international currency (2010). She is co-editor of Oxford Handbook of Banking and Financial History (2016). Her current research interests include the development of international banking regulation since the 1960s and the causes of the sovereign debt crisis of the 1980s.
My research ranges across a variety of topics in international economic relations. I am particularly interested in the current policy implications of the history of the development of international financial regulation and the organisation of the international monetary system since 1945. Additionally, I undertake research on the development of Hong Kong's international financial centre and relations between Hong Kong and Mainland China since 1945.
My major research interest is understanding the relations between banks and regulators, the constraints on effective banking supervision, the impact of financial regulation and how multilateral institutions such as the International Monetary Fund and the Bank for International Settlements interacted with national regulators. I am particularly interested in how bankers, governments and other policy-makers developed and used interpretations of the past when reacting to crises.
Additionally, I am exploring why proposals to reform the international monetary system in the 1970s and 1980s, such as the Substitution Account and a rules based system for balance of payments adjustment, were not effective and what this might suggest about the prospects for similar proposals today.
A third set of research questions address the determinants of international currency status and how this changes over time, by examining how the role of sterling in the international monetary system evolved since 1945. This has implications for current international monetary reform and the future role of the US dollar and the SDR.
Visiting Research Positions
- Associate Fellow, International Economics, Chatham House London
- Visiting Research Fellow, International Monetary Fund, Washington DC, April-May 2009
- Visiting Research Fellow, Hong Kong Institute of Monetary Research, Hong Kong Hong Kong Monetary Authority, September 2005-December 2005, April-May 2007, April-May 2014
- Visiting Professor, Department of History, University of Hong Kong, September 2005-January 2006
- Special Professor in International Economic History, Nottingham University Business School Malaysia Campus 2007-2010
Editorial Board Membership
- Palgrave History of International Finance series
- Economic History Review
- Financial History Review
- International History Review
- Business History Review (book review board)
Presentations, General Publications
- Podcast: Hong Kong: Myths and Truths of a 'Free Market Paradise': lecture at Legatum Institute
- Podcasts available on Chatham House itunes channel
- Podcast available on US-UK Relations: designing the post-1945 world economy
- 'Gold as a Money Anchor: we've been here before', Feature Article, GailFosler Group LLC, Sept. 2011
- 'Contrasting Challenges: the interwar gold standard and the role of gold today', Chatham House Programme Paper, Sept. 2011
- ‘The Retirement of Sterling as a Reserve Currency after 1945: Lessons for the US Dollar?’, World Financial Review, May/June 2011
- 'Lessons from History' in Subacchi and Driffill eds., Beyond the Dollar; rethinking the international monetary system, A Chatham House Report, 2010
- 'How have multiple reserve currencies operated in the past?' paper for: 'The international monetary system: old and new debates' sponsored by the Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, Paris, December 2010. (www.imsreform.org)
- 'Why International Financial Regulation Doesn't Work' (pdf) - a presentation for the ESRC Festival of Social Science, March 2009
Books (available as eBooks and hard copy)
Oxford Handbook of Banking and Financial History (Oxford 2016)
International Economic Relations since 1945 (Routledge 2011)
The Decline of Sterling: managing the retreat of an international currency (Cambridge University Press 2010)
Humanities in the European Research Area Joint Research Programme, 2016-2019
- 'The Development of International Financial Regulation and Supervision 1961-1982'
Economic and Social Research Council
- 'The Experience of Exchange Rate Regime Change among Developing Countries 1968-1978'
Economic and Social Research Council: Outcome Report for this Project
- 'Exchange Rate Policy in Singapore and Malaysia'
British Academy, Southeast Asian Studies Committee
- 'Managing the Decline of Sterling 1958-73'
Economic and Social Research Council: Outcome Report for this Project
- British Academy
- John Robertson Bequest
Professor Schenk is interested in supervising research projects related to the history of economic policy-making. This includes the development of exchange rate regimes, relations between individual countries and the International Monetary Fund, the evolution of financial regulation, the role of the international currencies, the relationship between banks and regulators.
Economic and Social History Level 1
Research in Economic and Social History (RESH)
MSc Global Economy
China in the International Economy
The Globalised Economy
Business in the Global Economy
Scottish Graduate Programme in Economics (Topics in Economic History)
Learned Societies etc.
- Fellow of the Royal Historical Society
- Associate Fellow, Chatham House, International Economics
- Academic Council, European Association of Banking and Financial History
- Academician of the Academy of Social Sciences
- House of Finance, Goethe University, Frankfurt, November 2016
- Legatum Institute, London, June 2016
- Battle of Ideas, Barbican, London October 2013
- Edinburgh International Festival: Moving Conversations, Trading with the West, August 2011
Selected Recent and Forthcoming Conference Papers
- Asia-Pacific Business and Economic History Conference, Melbourne, Australia, February 2017
- Economic History Workshop, Nankai University, China, September 2016
Consolidations and Continuities: reconsidering global economic processes after 1945, University of Bern, June 2016
Financial De-regulation: a historical perspective, European University Institute, Italy, June 2016
International Conference on International Monetary Stability - Past, Present and Future, Hoover Institution, May 2016
Countershock/Counter Revolution: Energy and Politics in the 1980s, Venice, November 2015
Internationalisation of the RMB,Chatham House, London, September 2015
'Gentlemen and Players: regulation and self-regulation in international banking in the 1970s', Economic History Society, April 2015
From Great Depression to Great Recession: the elusive quest for international economic cooperation, IMF, Washington, January 2015
United Nations General Assembly, Third International Conference on Financing for Development, New York, December 2014
The IMF, Banks and Sovereign Debt Crisis of 1982, Social Science History Association, Toronto, November 2014
Hong Kong banking regulation, shadow banks and offshore markets 1965-82, Asian Historical Economics Association Conference, Istanbul, September 2014
Reinventing Bretton Woods Committee, Hangzhou China, May 2014
The development of shadow banking, SIFIs and offshore markets: Hong Kong banking regulation 1970-82, Hong Kong Monetary Authority April 2014