Economic Expansion in Troubled Times: Bills of Obligation as Central Means in Styrian Finance (1515-1635)AbstractBy using probate inventories of Early Modern Styrian nobles the author tried to find answers to the following questions: Which effects did credit have on the social and economic circumstances, the Styrian nobility lived in at the beginning of Early Modern Time. Did credit have any influences in Early Modern economic theory, and did finance influence the economic growth in Styria already in the 16th and 17th centuries?The Styrian Nobility, as well as the clergy, and almost every man were deeply involved in credit networks during the 16th and 17th centuries. Kinship, neighbourhood and the membership in social elite groups, e.g. bureaucracy, structured these networks. All credit was based on trust between the borrowers and the creditors.Especially the property market of the Styrian nobility was closely connected with the financial sector of economy. This connection was intensively discussed by the English later mercantilists. John Locke and the governor of the English East India Company, Josiah Child, disputed the influence of lowering the rate of interest on the value of land.Credit expanded the amount of money in circulation. Already at the beginning of the 16th century Styrian bills of obligation were negotiable. Therefore the economic subjects could discount debita and credita without using any coins. At the beginning of the 17th century the ratio between cash and credit varied between 1 to 11 and 1 to 37 in Styria, depending on the historical sources taken into consideration. Credit was the power that enabled Styrian economics to grow even under troubled circumstances.