Dr. Bram van Besouw

PhD Candidate
Economic and Social History

I'm an economic historian working as postdoc in the Economic and Social History group.


My research is on the long-term interplay between wealth inequality and political influence during the early modern period, with a focus on Northwest Europe. I study wealth distribution and its drivers to understand how wealth inequality changes or persists over time and how, in turn, this affects economic opportunities and outcomes within a society. I am particularly interested in the question how personal wealth allows individuals to take advantage of (new) economic opportunities in circumstances of crisis, such as warfare or severe outbreaks of epidemic disease. 


My current research focuses on the use of collective wealth of economic organizations, such as guilds, to obtain preferential local political access in times of general economic adversity, and subsequent possibilities to (ab)use such power for rent extraction.