Sean Vanatta

Lecturer in United States economic and social history and Senior Fellow at The Wharton Initiative for Financial Policy and Regulation

Contact Information

Primary Email:

+44 07508 340458

319 Lilybank House
Glasgow, UK G12 8RT 

Research Interests: Consumer Finance, Financial History, Financial Regulation, Political History, Pension Investment

Links: CV

Sean Vanatta is a lecturer in United States economic and social history and senior fellow at The Wharton Initiative for Financial Policy and Regulation. Vanatta’s research examines the transformation of U.S. finance and financial policy. His work has appeared in Business History Review, Capitalism: A Journal of Economics and HistoryEnterprise & Society, and Management and Organizational History. He is completing a history of the bank credit card industry, Plastic Capitalism: Credit Cards and the Making of Modern Consumer Finance, which is forthcoming from Yale University Press. He is also co-author, with Peter Conti-Brown, of The Bankers’ Thumb: A History of Bank Supervision in the United States (Princeton University Press, forthcoming). In addition to this work on consumer financial- and bank supervisory history, Vanatta is also engaged in work on public pensions and monetary theory. He received his PhD from Princeton. His most recent papers are available on SSRN.

Glass, Michael and Vanatta, Sean, The Frail Bonds of Liberalism: Pensions, Schools, and the Unraveling of Fiscal Mutualism in Midcentury New York (May 25, 2020). Capitalism: A Journal of History and Economics, Available at SSRN: or

Vanatta, Sean, The Financialization of U.S. Public Pensions, 1945-1974 (November 8, 2022). Available at SSRN: or

Vanatta, Sean, Histories of Bank Supervision (December 15, 2020). Available at SSRN: or

Ballor, Grace and Recio, Gabriela and Vanatta, Sean, Surveillance Archive: Using Reports in Business History (February 7, 2023). Management and Organizational History, Forthcoming, Available at SSRN: or

Vanatta, Sean, Charge Account Banking: A Study of Financial Innovation in the 1950s (March 21, 2018). Enterprise & Society 19, no. 2: 352-390, June 2018, DOI:, Available at SSRN:

Vanatta, Sean, Citibank, Credit Cards, and the Local Politics of National Consumer Finance, 1968–1991 (October 26, 2016). Business History Review 90, no. 1: 57-80, Spring 2016, DOI:, Available at SSRN:


Sean Vantta has been a lecturer of US Economic and Social History at the University of Glasgow since 2020.