nep-evo New Economics Papers
on Evolutionary Economics
Issue of 2019‒06‒24
five papers chosen by
Matthew Baker
City University of New York

  1. Human Development in the Age of Globalisation By Prados de la Escosura, Leandro
  2. Economic Growth in Sub-Saharan Africa, 1885-2008 By Broadberry, Stephen; Gardner, Leigh
  3. Who writes African economic history? By Johan Fourie
  4. The Slave Trade and Conflict in Africa, 1400-2000 By Boxell, Levi; Dalton, John T.; Leung, Tin Cheuk
  5. Family standards of living over the long run, England 1280-1850 By Horrell, Sara; Humphries, Jane; Weisdorf, Jacob

  1. By: Prados de la Escosura, Leandro (Universidad Carlos III, CEPR, and CAGE)
    Abstract: This paper provides a long run view of human development as a capabilities measure of well-being for the last one-and-a-half centuries on the basis of an augmented historical human development index [AHHDI] that combines achievements in health, education, living standard, plus liberal democracy, and provides an alternative to the UN Human Development Index, HDI. The AHHDI shows substantial gains in world human development since 1870, especially during 1913-1970, but much room for improvement exists. Life expectancy has been the leading force behind its progress, especially until 1970. Human development spread unevenly. The absolute gap between western Europe and its offshoots plus Japan -the OECD- and the Rest of the world deepened over time, though fell in relative terms, with catching-up driven by longevity during the epidemiological transition and by democratization thereafter. This result compares favourably with the growing income gap. Economic growth and human development do not always go hand-in-hand.
    Keywords: Human Development, Well-being, Capabilities, Life Expectancy, Health Transition, Schooling, Income, Liberal Democracy. JEL Classification: I00, N30, O15
    Date: 2019
  2. By: Broadberry, Stephen (Nuffield College, Oxford, CEPR and CAGE); Gardner, Leigh (London School of Economics and Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Estimates of GDP per capita are provided on an annual basis for eight Sub-Saharan African economies for the period since 1885. Although the growth experienced in most of SSA since the mid-1990s has had historical precedents, there have also been episodes of negative growth or “shrinking”, so that long run progress has been limited. Despite some heterogeneity across countries, this must be seen as a disappointing performance for the region as a whole, given the possibilities of catch-up growth. Avoiding episodes of shrinking needs to be given a higher priority in understanding the transition to sustained economic growth.
    Keywords: JEL Classification:
    Date: 2019
  3. By: Johan Fourie (LEAP, Department of Economics, Stellenbosch University)
    Abstract: Much has been said about the rise, or `renaissance', of African economic history. What has received far less attention is who is producing this research. Using a complete dataset of articles in the top four economic history journals, I document the rise in African economic history in the last two decades. I show that although there has indeed been an increase in papers on Africa, it has included little work by Africans. I then attempt to explain why this is so, and motivate why this should matter. The good news is that, mostly owing to efforts by the academic community, more is being done to encourage African inclusion. I conclude with a few suggestions on how to make more African scholars part of the renaissance of African economic history.
    Keywords: economic history, Africa, bibliometric, citations
    JEL: N01
    Date: 2019
  4. By: Boxell, Levi; Dalton, John T.; Leung, Tin Cheuk
    Abstract: Can the slave trade explain Africa's propensity for conflict? Using variation in slave exports driven by the interaction between foreign demand shocks and heterogeneity in trade costs, we show that the slave trade increased conflict propensities in pre-colonial Africa and that this effect has persisted to the present. Moreover, we find empirical evidence suggesting two related mechanisms for this persistence--natural resources and national institutions. These results "decompress" history by connecting the short-run and long-run effects of the African slave trade.
    Keywords: slave trade; conflict; resource curse; institutions; Africa
    JEL: N47 N57 O13
    Date: 2019–06–13
  5. By: Horrell, Sara (University of Cambridge); Humphries, Jane (University of Oxford); Weisdorf, Jacob (University of Southern Denmark)
    Abstract: We utilise wage series for men, women and children to construct a long-run measure of family welfare in England, 1280-1850. We make adjustment for the participation rates of women and children, the varying number of days supplied to the labour market over time, the changing involvement of married women in paid work, and the evolving occupational structure of the economy. The resultant series is the first to depict the long run material experience of a representative, working family. Our family existed just above bare bones survival prior to the Black Death, but, as attested elsewhere, shortage of labour after the plague brought substantial gains. However, these gains were not unassailable. Restrictions on women’s work and Tudor turmoil pushed the family below the ‘respectable’ level previously achieved. Transformation of the economy from the mid-1600s onwards coincided with improved welfare. While the position of the representative family tracked the trajectory of GDP per capita through the early modern and industrial revolution periods, this was only achieved by shifting contributions from different family members. Our paper provides an account of long run material wellbeing on a more satisfactory basis than historians have achieved hitherto, not focussed on men alone nor on marginalised women and children, but on realistically constructed historical families.
    Keywords: Living standards, Work and wages, Britain, long-run JEL Classification:
    Date: 2019

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