nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2005‒10‒29
ten papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  2. A Heliocentric Journey into Germany's Great Depression By Mark Weder
  4. Family business investor byouts: the Italian case By Fabio Buttignon; Marco Vedovato; Paolo Bortoluzzi
  5. The Australian Business Cycle: A Coincident Indicator Approach By Christian Gillitzer; Jonathan Kearns; Anthony Richards
  6. Is there any progress in Economics? Some answers from the historians of economic thought By Antonio Almodovar; Maria de Fátima Brandão
  7. The Macro-dynamics of the Dutch Economy 1800-1913 By Jan Reijnders
  8. Nationwide Survey of Employees and Producers: A 15-Year Summary By Hurley, Terrance; Kliebenstein, James; Orazem, Peter; Miller, Dale
  9. The Labour Market Effects of Alma Mater: Evidence from Italy By Giorgio Brunello; Lorenzo Cappellari
  10. Corporate Governance Reforms around the World By Pursey P.P.M.A.R. Heugens; Jordan Otten

  1. By: Jeffrey G. Williamson
    Abstract: Between 1810 and 1940, a large GDP per capita gap appeared between the industrial core and the poor periphery, the latter producing, increasingly, primary products. Over the same period, the terms of trade facing the periphery underwent a secular boom then bust, peaking in the 1870s or 1890s. These terms of trade trends appear to have been exogenous to the periphery. Additionally, the terms of trade facing the periphery exhibited relatively high volatility. Are these correlations spurious, or are they causal? This Figuerola Lecture, to be given at Carlos III University (Madrid) , argues that they are causal, that secular growth and volatility in the terms of trade had asymmetric effects on core and periphery. On the upswing, the secular rise in its terms of trade had powerful de - industrialization effects in the periphery. Over the full cycle 1810-1940, terms of trade volatility suppressed accumulation and growth in the periphery as well.
    Date: 2005–10
  2. By: Mark Weder (University of Adelaide & CEPR)
    Abstract: The paper finds empirical evidence on the ripple effect of sunspots on the interwar German economy. It identifies a sequence of negative shocks to expectations for the 1927 to 1932 period. The artificial economy predicts the 1928-1932 depression and a long boom from 1933 onwards. Overall, a tangible fraction of interwar output volatility is attributed to sunspots.
    Keywords: Sunspots, Great Depression, Germany, Temin (1971)
    JEL: E32 N14
    Date: 2005–10–21
  3. By: Stanley Salvary
    Abstract: Over time, a changing environment has produced changes in the types of accounting information and in the dissemination of such information (financial reporting). Certain changes in the environment do impel changes in accounting. This paper examines various theoretical issues in accounting in a historical setting and provides some insight on the manner in which the accounting profession has responded to problems.
    Keywords: evolution of the manorial system; manorial revenue; the manorial establishment; the joint stock company; 'business reporting'; financial profitability; static theory and dynamic theory.
    JEL: N
    Date: 2005–10–22
  4. By: Fabio Buttignon (University of Padua); Marco Vedovato (University of Venice); Paolo Bortoluzzi (University of Venice)
    Abstract: Family business succession is often viewed by academics and practitioners as a critical step in the life of a firm: it can affect a variety of matters, ranging from its competitive potential and its hierarchy to its own capability to survive. This is particularly true in Italy, where firms are by and large small or medium, with no direct access to the capital market, and where many entrepreneurs who actively took part in the industrial development of the second half of the 20th century are now giving up their jobs. In this paper we try to understand whether Private Equity can be an effective answer to this emerging issue or not. To this end, at this first stage of the research, we focused on those Italian deals where the Private Equity investor was heavily involved (meaning that it acquired at least a majority stake in the target family firm) and we examined the effect of the deal performances of firms (comparing the performance two years before and three years after the deal). The sample includes 21 of the 44 family business investor buyouts (FBIBO) carried out in Italy during the 1990s. The results are ambivalent. Some of the identified variables (such as Turnover, EBITDA, ...) are not statistically significant, meaning that performance trends before and after the deal cannot be tracked back to the role of the Private Equity investor. Case study analysis thus becomes more relevant. In the attempt to identify some pattern of behaviour, we clustered the firms according to their trends in Turnover and EBITDA margin (both adjusted by industry). This categorization gave some interesting results. Generally, PE intervention causes a discontinuity in the life of a firm, generating a shift in performance trends: from bad to good and vice versa. This result wasn’t expected, considering that target firms belonged mainly to mature business and that existing management was kept in place. Almost a third of the analyzed firms achieved very good performances after the PE investment, while another third displayed some signs of failure. In the middle, some mixed situations emerged, where growth was reached at the expense of profitability or where profitability was increased as growth diminished.
    Date: 2005–03
  5. By: Christian Gillitzer (Reserve Bank of Australia); Jonathan Kearns (Reserve Bank of Australia); Anthony Richards (Reserve Bank of Australia)
    Abstract: This paper constructs coincident indices of Australian economic activity using techniques for estimating approximate factor models with many series, using data that begin in the early 1960s. The resulting monthly and quarterly indices both provide plausible measures of the Australian business cycle. The indices are quite robust to the selection of variables used in their construction, the sample period used in estimation, and the number of factors included. Notably, only a small number of factors is needed to adequately capture the business cycle. The coincident indices provide a much smoother representation of the cycle in economic activity than do standard national accounts measures, especially in the period prior to the early 1980s. Accordingly, they suggest that the marked decline in volatility evident in quarterly Australian GDP growth that occurred up to the 1980s may overstate the reduction in the volatility of economic activity and may at least partially reflect improvements in the measurement of GDP. Because the coincident indices present a smoother perspective of the business cycle in the 1960s and 1970s, they identify fewer recessions in this period than does GDP. Over the past 45 years, the coincident indices locate three recessions – periods when there was a widespread downturn in economic activity; in 1974–1975, 1982–1983 and 1990–1991.
    Keywords: business cycle; factor models; coincident indicator; Australia
    JEL: E32 E30 C40
    Date: 2005–10
  6. By: Antonio Almodovar (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia, Universidade do Porto); Maria de Fátima Brandão (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia,Universidade do Porto)
    Abstract: In our paper we look back and review some of the old books on the history of economic thought. This exercise allows us not only to scan and line up a possible range of different views on progress, but also to perceive why progress itself sometimes becomes an explicit issue within those histories. At the same time, this inquiry shed some light over the path that led to Schumpeter and Blaug views on the history of economics.
    Keywords: Progress; Economic Thought
    JEL: A11 B0
    Date: 2005–10
  7. By: Jan Reijnders
    Abstract: This paper presents a quantitative analysis of recently published Dutch national income statistics 1800-1913. An effort is made to identify Kondratieff waves in volume series relating to gross domestic product and expenditure. It is found that Kondratieff waves can be identified in most series. An interesting result is that the long waves in volume series appear to run contrary to the long waves in price series. This finding is at variance with the received view on long waves. It is argued that this typical result may be explained with reference to the so-called `Keynes effect'. Key Words Trends, Long Waves, National Income Statistics, The Netherlands, Fourier Analysis. JEL code E32, E12
    Keywords: Trends, Long Waves, National Income Statistics, The Netherlands, Fourier Analysis
    JEL: E32 E12
    Date: 2004–07
  8. By: Hurley, Terrance; Kliebenstein, James; Orazem, Peter; Miller, Dale
    Abstract: A special report by: National Pork Board, Pfizer Animal Health, and National Hog Farmer.
    Date: 2005–10–17
  9. By: Giorgio Brunello; Lorenzo Cappellari
    Abstract: We use data from a nationally representative survey of Italian graduates to study whether Alma Mater matters for employment and earnings three years after graduation. We find that the attended college does matter, and that college related differences are substantial both among and within regions of the country. However, these differences are not large enough to trigger substantial mobility flows from poorly performing to better performing institutions. There is also evidence that going to a private university pays off at least in the early part of a career: the employment weighted college wage gains from going to a private college are close to 18 percent. Only part of this gain can be explained by the fact that private universities have lower pupil - teacher ratios than public institutions. household behavior.
    Keywords: college education, Italy
    JEL: J24 J1
    Date: 2005–04
  10. By: Pursey P.P.M.A.R. Heugens; Jordan Otten
    Abstract: Contemporary contributions to the comparative corporate governance literature are often couched in simple, dichotomous terms. Corporate governance systems are typically described as "insider" versus "outsider" systems, as "shareholder" versus "stakeholder" capitalism, or as involving "equity-financed" versus "debt-financed" firms. We are suspicious of greater variety than allowed by these dichotomous models, and report an explorative study on corporate governance reforms around the world in search of heterogeneity. The study involves a 38-country comparative study of corporate governance reform codes, and uses content- and exploratory factor analyses to demonstrate that they reference not two but no less than five independent but mutually complementary corporate governance mechanisms (CGMs).
    Keywords: Institutional influences, diffusion of governance mechanisms, comparative corporate governance
    Date: 2005–03

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