nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2005‒03‒06
seven papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
London South Bank University

  1. Fixed Rent Contracts in English Agriculture, 1750-1850: A Conjecture By David R Stead
  2. "Risk, Transaction Costs, and Geographic Distribution of Share Tenancy: A Case of Pre-War Japan" By Yutaka Arimoto; Tetsuji Okazaki; Masaki Nakabayashi
  3. The Nature and Costs of Dis-Equilibrium Trade: The Case of Transatlantic Grain Exports in the 19th Century By Mette Ejrnæs; Karl Gunnar Persson
  4. An Improved Annual Chronology of U.S. Business Cycles since the 1790's By Joseph H. Davis
  5. Technology Spillover through Trade and TFP Convergence: 120 Years of Evidence for the OECD Countries By Jakob Brøchner Madsen
  6. "The New Development of Dispersed Production System: A Case from the Japanese Toy Industry in the Inter-war Period" (in Japanese) By Masayuki Tanimoto

  1. By: David R Stead
    Abstract: This article conjectures a parsimonious explanation for the choice of fixed cash rent contracts in late eighteenth- and early nineteenth-century English agriculture. Tenant farmers, it is suggested, bore the brunt of the income risk because they were less risk averse than landowners. The latter's acute risk aversion may have been produced by acute loss aversion brought about by their substantial fixed liabilities, part of which arose from signalling status. Limited quantitative evidence that landlords gave their tenants a risk premium, in the form of a low rent, is presented. Landowners apparently did not make especially frequent use of the formal short-term credit market as an alternative means of smoothing income, perhaps because the transactions costs of doing so were non-trivial.
  2. By: Yutaka Arimoto (Graduate School of Agricultural and Life Sciences, University of Tokyo); Tetsuji Okazaki (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo); Masaki Nakabayashi (Graduate School of Economics, Osaka University)
    Abstract: This paper investigates determinants of geographic distribution of share tenancy and analyzes its efficiency implications in pre-war Iwate prefecture, Japan. The distribution of share tenancy was attributable to risk represented by yield variability, which in turn was affected by seasonal winds called Yamase and topographic features. That risk raised transaction costs of adopting a fixed-rent tenancy associated with the common custom of rent reduction in Japan that mitigated the problem of risksharing. Estimation results suggest that risk, wealth, and strength of community ties were the main determinants of contract choice.
    Date: 2005–03
  3. By: Mette Ejrnæs (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen); Karl Gunnar Persson (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: The essential issue addressed in this paper is whether inefficient spatial arbitrage has significant welfare effects. The paper looks at the gains from improved market efficiency in transatlantic grain trade in the period 1855-1895. It shows that there is a law of one price equilibrium but that markets display spells of demand- or supply- constrained trade. Over time adjustments back to equilibrium as measured by the half-life of a shock become faster, and adjustment parameters are much larger than routinely reported in the PPP-literature. There are also significant gains from improved market efficiency but most of that improvement takes place in one step after the information ‘regime’ shifts from pre-telegraphic communication to a regime with swift transmission of information in an era with a sophisticated commercial press and telegraphic communication. Improved market efficiency probably stimulated trade more than falling transport costs.
    Keywords: market integration; error correction; law of one price
    JEL: F1 C5 N7
    Date: 2005–02
  4. By: Joseph H. Davis
    Abstract: The NBER's pre-WWI chronology of annual peaks and troughs has the remarkable implication that the U.S. economy spent nearly every other year in recession, although previous research has argued that the post-Civil War dates are flawed. This paper extends that research by redating annual peaks and troughs for the entire 1796-1914 period using a single metric: Davis' (2004) annual industrial production index. The new pre-WWI chronology alters more than 40% of the peak and troughs, and removes cycles long considered the most questionable. An important implication of the new chronology is the lack of discernible differences in the frequency and duration of industrial cycles among the pre-Civil War, Civil War to WWI, and post-WWII periods. Of course, my comparison between pre-WWI and post-WWII cycles is limited by its reliance on a single annual index (as opposed to many monthly series) that is less comprehensive than GDP.
    JEL: N1 E3
    Date: 2005–02
  5. By: Jakob Brøchner Madsen (Institute of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: Using a new dataset on imports of technology and total factor productivity (TFP) over more than a century for the OECD countries, this paper tests for international technological transmission through trade. The empirical estimates suggest that imports of knowledge have been responsible for an almost 200% increase in TFP over the past century, but that the spillover effect has been highly unevenly distributed across countries, but has contributed to TFP convergence among the OECD countries.
    Keywords: technology spillovers; imports; TFP convergence
    JEL: E13 E22 E23 O11 O3
    Date: 2005–02
  6. By: Masayuki Tanimoto (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This paper explores Japan's pre-war industrialization from the viewpoint of small- scale businesses. A typical case can be seen in the development of rural weaving industry before the World War I. There functioned the production form besides factory such as putting-out system based on the peasant's sideline work. After the World War I, however, putting-out system in the weaving industry rapidly gave way to factory system that equipped the power looms. Contrastively, the industrial development in large cities, especially in Tokyo during the Inter-war period, entailed the increase of newly formed petty and small workshops. There functioned the production system based on the complex transaction of merchants, factories, small workshops and domestic works. Toy manufacturing, which developed as an export industry in the Inter-war Tokyo, was one of the typical industries based on that production system. As the urban area lacked the peasants and the intimate communities, urban small businesses stood on the different foundations. The skill was trained in the quasi-apprentice system where juvenile workers experienced a sort of on the job training. Based on this skill formation, not a few employees set up their own businesses and competed even with the wholesalers. Their activities were supported by the positive externality of the cluster. The formal and informal institutions played significant roles to prevent the transactions from disorder. The role of production organizer that combined the function of the merchant was also important. The combination of the merchant and the household economy, together with the social and institutional basis, promoted an industrialization based on the small businesses.
    Date: 2005–02
  7. By: David Rodriguez
    Abstract: The aim of this note is to complement some of the results appearing in Dolado et al. (2003) article “Publishing Performance in Economics: Spanish Rankings” Particularly we want to focus on three issues: the robustness of the results regardless of the time span considered, the evaluation of a researcher to the advance of the knowledge, and to what extent the choice of a particular database to download the results can affect the results. Differences are significant when we expand the time period considered. There are also small but significant differences if we combine datasets to derive the rankings.
    Keywords: rankings, economics, bibliometric indicators
    JEL: A10 A14
    Date: 2005–02–23

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