The 2013 AFHE BNP Paribas Economic History Award ceremony took place on 4 October in Roubaix as a part of the annual conference of the French economic history association (AFHE). The ceremony was hosted by the ANMT – the national employment archives.

The award, presented every two years, aims to increase visibility of the subject of economic history. It honours two top PhD students who have successfully completed their thesis on a related topic, in the area of history or humanities and social sciences.

The two winners of the 2013 award were Stéphane Lembré and Aurélie Carrara, who received their diplomas from Nicolas Draux, BNP Paribas' Regional Head for the North of France*, representing Baudouin Prot, President of the Jury for this award.

Aurélie Carrara, 2013 winner and author of a thesis on International trade tax in the ancient world, discusses the prize.

What does winning this award mean to a young researcher like you? Will it have an impact on your development in the university world or on your career path?

First of all, this award means a great deal to my professional career and future research. It will allow me to finance a part of the publication of my PhD work (Ausonius Éditions, France), which is essential for obtaining a tenure track position at a University, especially in these difficult times. Thanks to this award, I will also extend my stay abroad (Germany, Greece, USA) and continue both to carry on my research project in excellent conditions and to enlarge my scholarly network.

Finally, this price shows that ancient history now plays an essential role in the field of economic history. From an evolutionary perspective, ancient economy was long considered a primitiv organisation deprived of market structures. This point of view is no longer valid. Scholars have demonstrated that the Greek city was a merchant state, whose economic organisation was based on trade.

Why did you select the topic of International trade tax in the ancient world?

Greek states set up institutions, including taxation system, to guarantee larger systems of exchange. Research on taxation system and international trade has allowed for the analysis of state economies from some practical aspects including the way they used fiscality in their economic behaviour. Beyond this, we can also study ancient economy in general terms of power relations, territorial control, or state income through taxation. Finally, the last important study dealing with Greek finances dates from 1928, and since then historic sources have substantially increased in number. It is therefore necessary to develop and apply more these various approaches in order that we eventually come to a new understanding of ancient economy in context.

BNP Paribas' partnership with the AFHE, extended for the second time this year, fits with the Group's commitment to giving people a greater understanding of the French economy. During his speech, Nicolas Draux reminded his audience of the bank's commitment to favouring economic history knowledge. The venue for the award ceremony was a symbolic place for BNP Paribas because the ANMT houses a part of the Group's banking ancestors' archives. Mr Draux also highlighted the historical role of BNP Paribas in the economic and industrial development of the Northern region of France.

The AFHE award is the result of close collaboration between the AFHE and BNP Paribas. The next edition will be held in 2015.

Read last week's interview with Stéphane Lémbré, co-winner of the AFHE BNP Paribas Economic History Award

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