nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2005‒05‒07
eight papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
London South Bank University

  1. Tariff protection in Sweden 1885–1914 By Bohlin, Jan
  2. CRISES & CRASHES: ARGENTINA 1885 – 2003 By Osvaldo Meloni; Ana María Cerro
  4. Branch Banking, Bank Competition, and Financial Stability By Mark Carlson; Kris James Mitchener
  5. One Man's Junk Mail Is Another Man's Treasure: Proxy Contests and Corporate Governance By Erica Laudano
  6. The Evolution of the Mexican-Born Workforce in the United States By George J. Borjas; Lawrence F. Katz
  7. A Review of the Empirical Literature on FDI Determinants By Bruce A. Blonigen
  8. Fifty years of Research on Accuracy of Capital Expenditure Project Estimates: A Review of the Findings and their Validity. By Stefan Linder

  1. By: Bohlin, Jan (Department of Economic History, School of Economics and Commercial Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: This paper presents disaggregated estimates of nominal and effective rates of tariff protection for Sweden 1885–1914. In a methodological part of the article I argue that the proper way to measure tariff protection is an output weighted average of tariff rates for a representative sample of commodities. In the empirical part of the paper, I show that Swedish tariff protection increased substantially in the period even though tariff income as a proportion of total imports decreased slightly. This seeming contradiction is explained by the restructuring of Swedish imports that took place in the period under review; the share in imports of highly protected consumer goods declined while the share of capital goods with lower protection rates and duty free raw materials and input goods increased. The result stands in contradiction to some recent views expressed in the international literature. <p>
    Keywords: Economic History; Industrialisation; Industrial Policy; Trade Policy; Protectionism
    JEL: F13 N43
    Date: 2005–05–03
  2. By: Osvaldo Meloni (Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina); Ana María Cerro (Universidad Nacional de Tucumán, Argentina)
    Abstract: This paper is aimed at studying the determinants of currency crises suffered by Argentina from 1885 to 2003, on one hand, and at characterizing each particular currency crisis, on the other hand. Firstly, we identify crises episodes throughout the Argentine history. We apply the Eichengreen, Rose and Wyplosz (1994) methodology to sort crises from non-crises periods, and we distinguish among deep crises (crashes), mild crises and minor turbulences. Secondly, we look for regularities and common factors throughout history. We report the two- sample Kolmogorv-Smirnov test of equality of distributions and the Kruskal-Wallis test of equality of population. We complemented it by estimating a logit model including a set of variables chosen from the prescriptions of the existing currency crises theories. Thirdly, following Kaminsky (2003) we perform regression tree analysis to classify crises and crashes into different varieties proposed by the theories at stake. We use fifteen financial and macroeconomic variables suggested by the empirical literature. It is found that fiscal imbalances were always present, which is consistent with the predictions of the first generation speculative attack models. All three methods used to characterize currency crises in Argentina show the importance of the fiscal side. Adverse foreign factors had also a key role in explaining crises. Finally, in most of the crises, regularities in the behavior of macroeconomic variables can be detected.
    Keywords: currency crises - Argentina - regression tree analysis -
    JEL: E3 N20
    Date: 2005–05–04
  3. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura
    Abstract: This paper explores the connections between independence from Spain and Portugal and economic backwardness in Latin America. The release of the fiscal burden was offset by higher costs of self-government, while opening up to the international economy represented a handmaiden of growth. Independence had a very different impact across regions and widened regional disparities. The commitment to the colonial mercantilism conditioned the new republics’ performance but, on the whole, GDP per head increased in the half a century after emancipation. It appears that inherited Iberian institutions cannot be blamed for Latin America’s poor performance relative to the US, especially if the scope is widened to include the post-independence performance of former European colonies in Africa and Asia. It is suggested that before jumping to the usual negative assessment of nineteenth century Latin America, a comparison of post-independence performance in other world regions will be required.
    Date: 2004–12
  4. By: Mark Carlson; Kris James Mitchener
    Abstract: It is often argued that branching stabilizes banking systems by facilitating diversification of bank portfolios; however, previous empirical research on the Great Depression offers mixed support for this view. Analyses using state-level data find that states allowing branch banking had lower failure rates, while those examining individual banks find that branch banks were more likely to fail. We argue that an alternative hypothesis can reconcile these seemingly disparate findings. Using data on national banks from the 1920s and 1930s, we show that branch banking increases competition and forces weak banks to exit the banking system. This consolidation strengthens the system as a whole without necessarily strengthening the branch banks themselves. Our empirical results suggest that the effects that branching had on competition were quantitatively more important than geographical diversification for bank stability in the 1920s and 1930s.
    JEL: G21 N22 E44
    Date: 2005–05
  5. By: Erica Laudano
    Abstract: Proxy contests traditionally have been viewed as the least efficient means of corporate governance. During the 1960s, such contests were opined to be "the most expensive, the most uncertain, and the least used of the various techniques" available to discipline management and transfer corporate control. This attitude persisted through the 1980s when the cash tender offer dominated the wave of hostile takeovers and acquisitions of publicly held companies. In fact, during the period from 1981 to 1984, there were over 250 tender offers for publicly held U.S. corporations as compared to only some 100 proxy contests. In effect, the ready availability of cash coupled with the relatively short timetables afforded by the Williams Act rendered the tender offer a quicker, more certain alternative to the proxy contest.
    Keywords: proxy contests, corporate governance,
  6. By: George J. Borjas; Lawrence F. Katz
    Abstract: This paper examines the evolution of the Mexican-born workforce in the United States using data drawn from the decennial U.S. Census throughout the entire 20th century. It is well known that there has been a rapid rise in Mexican immigration to the United States in recent years. Interestingly, the share of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. workforce declined steadily beginning in the 1920s before beginning to rise in the 1960s. It was not until 1980 that the relative number of Mexican immigrants in the U.S. workforce was at the 1920 level. The paper examines the trends in the relative skills and economic performance of Mexican immigrants, and contrasts this evolution with that experienced by other immigrants arriving in the United States during the period. The paper also examines the costs and benefits of this influx by examining how the Mexican influx has altered economic opportunities in the most affected labor markets and by discussing how the relative prices of goods and services produced by Mexican immigrants may have changed over time.
    JEL: J1 J6
    Date: 2005–04
  7. By: Bruce A. Blonigen
    Abstract: This paper surveys the recent burgeoning literature that empirically examines the foreign direct investment (FDI) decisions of multinational enterprises (MNEs) and the resulting aggregate location of FDI across the world. The contribution of the paper is to evaluate what we can say with relative confidence about FDI as a profession, given the evidence, and what we cannot have much confidence in at this point. Suggestions are made for future research directions.
    JEL: F21 F23
    Date: 2005–05
  8. By: Stefan Linder (WHU, Vallendar Germany)
    Abstract: Capital budgeting research has traditionally focused on ever improving the methods used for evaluating projects. Since it seems futile to use sophisticated evaluation techniques if their input data – that is, estimates of cash inflows and outflows – are of inferior quality, it is justifiable to call this focus into question by exploring forecasting accuracy. In order to do so, the article analyzes the empirical findings on estimation error gathered in 35 studies published between 1954 and 2002. As the review shows, over-optimism seems to be a relevant problem in capital expenditure project forecasting. This calls the traditional research focus into question. More research effort targeted at the misestimation bias in capital budgeting and at ways to improve forecasting accuracy seems necessary.
    Keywords: Capital budgeting, Capital Expenditures, Estimation Accuracy, Forecasting, Post-Audit.
    JEL: G
    Date: 2005–04–30

This nep-his issue is ©2005 by Bernardo Batiz-Lazo. It is provided as is without any express or implied warranty. It may be freely redistributed in whole or in part for any purpose. If distributed in part, please include this notice.
General information on the NEP project can be found at For comments please write to the director of NEP, Marco Novarese at <>. Put “NEP” in the subject, otherwise your mail may be rejected.
NEP’s infrastructure is sponsored by the School of Economics and Finance of Massey University in New Zealand.