'Profligacy in the encouragement of thrift': Savings banks in Ireland, 1817-1914

Eoin McLaughlin*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

15 Citations (Scopus)


This paper studies institutional changes in Irish savings banks and their functionality from 1817 to 1914. These changes saw market incumbents, trustee savings banks, suffering from a loss of confidence and displaced by a functionally equivalent but institutionally distinct competitor, the Post Office Savings Bank. The paper finds that, despite significant institutional change, savings banks of all types were consistently loss-making. This suggests that Irish savings banks were subsidised. In addition, despite contemporary accusations of credit shortages, Irish savings banks, due to legal restrictions, did not engage in any private sector lending, thus arguably crowding out private investment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)569-591
Number of pages23
JournalBusiness History
Issue number4
Publication statusPublished - May 2014


  • economic history
  • functional analysis
  • institutions
  • Ireland
  • savings banks

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Business, Management and Accounting (miscellaneous)
  • History


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