nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2005‒10‒08
twelve papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. The Role of Mexico in the First Oil Shortage: 1918-1922, an International Perspective By M. del Mar Rubio Varas
  2. The Failure of the Spanish Crown’s Fiscal Monopoly over Tobacco in Catalonia During the 18th Century By Rafael Torres; Rafael Torres
  3. Ota Sik - Der lange Weg zur Einsicht By Oldrich Kyn; Jiri Slama
  4. Who Are the Greatest Living Artists? The View from the Auction Market By David W. Galenson
  5. A Challenge to Marxian economics By Oldrich Kyn
  6. CZECHOSLOVAKIA - Economic Reforms of 1960s By Oldrich Kyn
  7. El sector real en Antioquia: una evaluación financiera en escenario de crisis By Octavio Antonio Zuluaga Rivera; Francisco Villadiego Yanes
  8. The Soviet Price Determination, An Econometric Study By Oldrich Kyn
  9. Demand for Money in India: 1953-2003 By B Bhaskara Rao; Singh Rup
  10. ECONOMIC TRANSFORMATION: STRONG AND WEAK SIDE; A Statement of Independent Czech and Slovak Economists By Oldrich Kyn; Jiri Slama; Vladimir Benacek; Karel Kouba; Pavel Pelikan
  11. Job Loss, Job Finding, and Unemployment in the U.S. Economy Over the Past Fifty Years By Robert E. Hall
  12. Consequences of Debt Relief Initiatives in the 1990s By Ralf Hepp

  1. By: M. del Mar Rubio Varas
    Abstract: In 1921 Mexico produced a quarter of world’s petroleum, making the country the second largest producer in the world, but by 1930 it only accounted for 3 per cent of world’s production. To date the discussion has mostly relied on events taking place in Mexico for explaining the decline of the industry. Very little attention has been placed to developments in petroleum industry elsewhere, except Venezuela. Practically no attention has been paid to the reasons for the rise of oil output in Mexico. This neglects the massive changes taking place in the petroleum industry worldwide during the Great War years and its aftermath, and overall ignores the shortage of oil that occurred in the world’s markets between 1918-1921. These are crucial events in order to understand the early rise of the Mexican oil industry and set the basis for a better understanding of the subsequent sudden decline.
    Keywords: World’s petroleum supply, Mexico, First World War, energy shortage
    JEL: N70 N40 N56
    Date: 2005–09
  2. By: Rafael Torres; Rafael Torres (School of Economics and Business Administration, University of Navarra)
    JEL: O32 L14
    Date: 2005–09
  3. By: Oldrich Kyn (Boston University); Jiri Slama (Osteuropa Institut, Muenchen)
    Abstract: This is a brief but critical survey of the life and accomplishments of the Czech economist Ota Sik. He joint Communist Youth organization already before the WWII. During the war, he was in the Mauthausen concentration camp, together with the future secretary of the Czechoslovak Communist Party and president of Czechoslovakia Antonin Novotny. That helped him to get some prestigeous position in the Communist Party soon after the war. First he was quite orthodox Marxian economist, but after he was appointed as the Director of the Economic Institute of the Czechoslovak Academy of Sciences, he started to be critical of the Stalinist system and eventually became a head of the movement for the economic reform of 1960's. After the Soviet Invasion of Czechoslovakia in 1968 he emmigrated from Czechoslovakia and became a professor of economics in Switzerland. There he was more and more critical of the Soviet version of centrally planned socialism, but never fully accepted a free-market capitalism. As a result he advocated the 'Third Way' social and economic system.
    Keywords: Ota Sik, Third Way, Economic Reform, Market Socialism, Marxism, Critique of Orthodox Marxian Economics.
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–09–28
  4. By: David W. Galenson
    Abstract: Many art critics and scholars argue that art markets are irrational, and that there is no correlation between prices and artistic importance. This paper identifies all living artists who have executed at least one work that has sold at auction for at least $1 million, and ranks them both by the highest price for which any of their works have sold, and by the number of times their works have sold for $1 million or more. These rankings show that the most valuable art is made by the greatest artists: the leaders in these tables, including Jasper Johns, Bruce Nauman, Robert Rauschenberg, Gerhard Richter, and Jeff Koons, are clearly among the most important artists alive today. This study also underscores the fact that the most important art of the past 50 years has overwhelmingly been made by young geniuses who have made radical conceptual innovations at early ages.
    JEL: J
    Date: 2005–10
  5. By: Oldrich Kyn (Boston University)
    Abstract: An article published in Czechoslovakia just before the Soviet invasion of 1968, which stopped the progress of the economic reform aiming to transform the centrally planned command economy into a kind of market socialism. The article was acknowledging that the Marxian economics have no satisfactory answer to von Mises' claim, that the socialist economy cannot work, if it removes the possibility of 'economic calculation' that requires the operation of the free market system.
    Keywords: Central planning, Command economy, Market socialism, Economic Calculation, von Mises, Czechoslovakia, Marxism,
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–09–30
  6. By: Oldrich Kyn (Boston University)
    Abstract: The paper starts with a very brief overview of changes in the Czechoslovak economic system after the WWII and especially after the Communist coup d'etat of 1948. There were quite visible socialist features in the post WWII developments, but before 1948 they were more of the West European type and the full-fledged Soviet-type command economy was introduce only after 1948. But the Soviet-type system did not fit the industrially developed country and created serious problems already in the middle 50's. The first economic reform of 1958 aimed for some improvements of the Soviet-type system, but not for any substantial change of the system itself. Less than ten years later the much more radical reform started. It aimed for a return to the market economy, but of the socialist and not capitalist character. The economic reform was also accompanied by significant changes in the social and political system that aimed to restore democracy. The whole economic and political reform process went already so far that it could have been stopped only by the brutal invasion of the Soviet army in 1968. The paper continues by describing the main features of the economic reform, that is changes in the organizational structure of the economy, changes in the role and methods of planning, changes that were supposed to lead from central fixing of all prices to the step by step freeing of prices to the market forces. It continues with the proposed changes in the wage determination and with the completely changed role of the 'success indicators'. In analyzing the social, political and economic background of the reform, the main attention is concentrated on the strategy of reform that is on timing, extent, speed and sequencing of reform measures. Finally the social forces behind the reform are analyzed.
    Keywords: Market Socialism, Comand Economy, Economic Reform, Strategy of Economic Reform, Czechoslovakia, Economic Reform of 1960's, Success Indicatores, Mixed Economy, Nationalization, Economic Overcentralization, Decentralization of the Economy, Workers' Councils, Guided Market,
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–10–02
  7. By: Octavio Antonio Zuluaga Rivera; Francisco Villadiego Yanes
    Abstract: Basados en los indicadores financieros de los balances consolidados de un conjunto de empresas antioqueñas pertenecientes al sector real, en este documento se analizan las posturas financieras para enfrentar los cambios en el entorno con ocasión del ciclo recesivo y de precaria actividad económica entre los años 1998 y 2003. Destacamos la diferencia en las respuestas financieras entre las MIPYMES y las grandes empresas. Las MIPYMES del sector industrial no sanearon su estructura financiera y por el contrario, aumentaron sus niveles de endeudamiento en los años que siguieron a la crisis, en tanto que las grandes empresas de los sectores agropecuarios, industria y comercio mantuvieron sus niveles de endeudamiento. También se advierte una menor capacidad de acceder a los créditos del sistema financiero por parte de las MIPYMES de los sectores industriales y comerciales, considerando los menores niveles de concentración de endeudamiento financiero asociado a mayores niveles de endeudamiento. Por último, cabe destacar que los diferentes sectores económicos del sector real en Antioquia exhibieron deterioro en los indicadores de rentabilidad y en los niveles de activos durante la crisis de 1998 y 1999. Durante el periodo 1998-2003 las MIPYMES exhiben una peor tendencia en la evolución del patrimonio y el activo en comparación con la gran empresa.
    Keywords: Balances de empresas,
    Date: 2005–02–28
  8. By: Oldrich Kyn (Boston University)
    Abstract: This paper attempts estimation of the model of the Soviet price determination. Model consists of price equations for five sectors of the Soviet economy, and it is intended to be a part of a larger econometric model of the Soviet economy. Four different cost-plus price formulae were estimated. That included labor value prices and two channel prices. In one of the variants a “capital charge” was included into prices in the post reform years. Considering the shortness of time series relatively poor quality of data and the fact, that the Soviet centralized price determination is generally regarded to be quite arbitrary, almost all the regressions gave surprisingly good results.
    Keywords: Econometric Model, Price Model, Input-output prices, Soviet price determination
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–10–04
  9. By: B Bhaskara Rao (University of the South Pacific); Singh Rup (University of the South Pacific)
    Abstract: The demand for money, especially in the developing countries, is an important relationship for formulating appropriate monetary policy and targeting monetary variables. In this paper we estimate the demand for narrow money in India and evaluate its robustness. It is found that there is a stable demand for money for almost half a century from 1953 to 2003. There is no evidence for any significant effects of the $1991$ financial reforms.
    Keywords: Demand for money, Developing countries, Income and interest rate elasticities, Cointegration, Financial reforms.
    JEL: C1 C5 C8
    Date: 2005–10–02
  10. By: Oldrich Kyn (Boston University); Jiri Slama (Osteuropa Institut, Muenchen); Vladimir Benacek (Charles University, Prague); Karel Kouba (Charles University, Prague); Pavel Pelikan (Institute for Economic Development, Stockholm,)
    Abstract: This is in support of the governement program of transformation from the Soviet-type economy, to the free market economy in Czechoslovakia after the fall of Communism. The basic lines of the government program, that was outlined by Vaclav Klaus, are defended against the leftis criticism that favored either market socialism or the so called 'Third Way'. On the other hand the statement sais that 'the current transformation strategy has several is apparent that the Government realizes some of these but, under political pressure, continues in the wrong direction.' Among the weaknesses the following have serious negative implications: (1) insufficient attention to the development of small and medium enterprise; (2)'two years after the velvet revolution in the whole of Czechoslovakia, small privatization created only about one tenth of the desirable number of small private enterprises.' (3)'the prohibition of secondary market in privatization vouchers.' (4)'a timid attitude of politicians, Governments, and Parliaments toward foreign capital.' (5) ' the lack of support to the development of banking, tax, and legal institutions. ' The statement was supported by 14 representatives of the economic profession.
    Keywords: Socialism, Market Socialism, Soviet-type economy, transition, Central Planning, Fall of Communism, Third Way, Vaclav Klaus, Strategy of transition, Voucher Privatization, Foreign Capital,
    JEL: O P
    Date: 2005–10–05
  11. By: Robert E. Hall
    Abstract: New data compel a new view of events in the labor market during a recession. Unemployment rises almost entirely because jobs become harder to find. Recessions involve little increase in the flow of workers out of jobs. Another important finding from new data is that a large fraction of workers departing jobs move to new jobs without intervening unemployment. I develop estimates of separation rates and job-finding rates for the past 50 years, using historical data informed by detailed recent data. The separation rate is nearly constant while the job-finding rate shows high volatility at business-cycle and lower frequencies. I review modern theories of fluctuations in the job-finding rate. The challenge to these theories is to identify mechanisms in the labor market that amplify small changes in driving forces into fluctuations in the job-finding rate of the high magnitude actually observed. In the standard theory developed over the past two decades, the wage moves to offset driving forces and the predicted magnitude of changes in the job-finding rate is tiny. New models overcome this property by invoking a new form of sticky wages or by introducing information and other frictions into the employment relationship.
    JEL: E24 J64
    Date: 2005–10
  12. By: Ralf Hepp (University of California, Davis)
    Abstract: In this paper I investigate the effects of recent debt relief initiatives such as the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) Debt Initiative of 1996 on resource flows to developing countries. Focusing on a sample of low-income countries, I concentrate on the following questions. First, is the HIPC initiative selective in the sense of “rewarding” improved policies in HIPC countries with higher transfers? Measuring improvement directly with dummy variables representing progress in the initiative, I find that good macroeconomic management does not seem to matter in terms of the level of resource transfers and foreign aid received by a HIPC country. Second, have HIPCs and non-HIPCs experienced reductions in aid inflows (other than debt relief) in the 1990s and early 2000s? My estimates suggest that countries classified as HIPCs received higher (official and aggregate) net transfers than non- HIPC countries in the first half of the 1990s. These differences persist after 1996, however, at a lower level. Looking at net official development assistance, differences between HIPC countries and non-HIPC countries persist throughout the 1990s and early 2000s, with higher levels of aid going to HIPC countries. Third, have the debt relief initiatives in the 1990s provided additional resources to low-income countries? Confirming findings in earlier literature, my results suggest that aid flows have not changed significantly in response to debt relief.
    Keywords: HIPC debt initiative, foreign aid, selectivity, additionality
    JEL: F34 F35 O19
    Date: 2005–10–04

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.