New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒03‒05
ten papers chosen by

  1. Central Banking at the Periphery of the British Empire: Colonial Burma, 1886-1937 By Sean Turnell
  2. The Rise and Fall of Cooperative Credit in Colonial Burma By Sean Turnell
  3. On the order of integration of monthly US ex-ante and ex-post real interest rates new evidence from over a century of data By Menelaos Karananos; S.H Sekioua; N Zeng
  4. The Chettiars in Burma By Sean Turnell
  5. Institutions and Transition By Peter Murrell
  6. Le determinanti del tasso di sconto in Italia negli anni 1876-1913: un'analisi empirica e documentale By Franco Spinelli; Carmine Trecroci
  7. American in the Shadows: Harry Dexter White and the Design of the International Monetary Fund By James M. Boughton
  8. Oil Price Shocks: Can They Account for the Stagflation in the 1970s? By Ben Hunt
  9. The Equity Premium: 101 years of Empirical Evidence from the UK By Andrew Vivian
  10. The Evolution of International Political Risk 1956-2001 By Radu Tunaru; Ephraim Clark

  1. By: Sean Turnell (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to bring to light the efforts to fashion a central bank in Burma during the years in which the country was a province of British India. Throughout this period, which lasted from 1886 to 1937, questions of money and finance in Burma were mostly the preserve of the Raj in Calcutta and New Delhi. And, yet, it is a little-known fact that plans to establish a central bank for Burma were promoted throughout the colonial years by a succession of imperial officials. These plans, which reached their apogee in the 'monetary reform' advocacy that followed the Great Depression, were never realised in the colonial era. They were, however, indicative of a political economy discourse in colonial Burma that was more vigorous, and theoretically sophisticated, than is commonly supposed.
    Keywords: Monetary institutions, British Empire, Burma, Indian monetary reform
    JEL: N25 E42 E58
    Date: 2005–07
  2. By: Sean Turnell (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: Cooperative credit was the British Empire's all-purpose answer to problems of rural poverty and indebtedness, usury, and land alienation. Originating in the idealism of the 'Rochedale Pioneers' and in schemes from rural Germany, cooperative credit was imported into India with an evangelical zeal to solve all manner of perceived economic and social ills. With only slightly less moral fervour it was transplanted from India into Burma in the first decade of the Twentieth Century, and by 1920 several thousand cooperative credit societies had mushroomed across the country. The purpose of this paper is to trace the development of cooperative credit in Burma from these promising beginnings, until the near collapse of the movement on the eve of the Great Depression. The paper explores the way in which cooperative credit was seen by the imperial authorities as a device to limit the role of Indian money-lenders in Burma, and as the basis for the establishment of formal rural credit markets. The paper concludes that poor implementation, on top of official myopia as to the cultural, historical and economic differences between India, Burma and Europe, brought about the demise of a movement that promised much.
    JEL: Q14 Q13 O16 N25
    Date: 2005–06
  3. By: Menelaos Karananos (University of Newcastle); S.H Sekioua (University of Newcastle); N Zeng (University of Newcastle)
    Date: 2005–09–03
  4. By: Sean Turnell (Department of Economics, Macquarie University)
    Abstract: In the history of Burma's political economy, few groups have been so roundly vilified as the Chettiars. A community of moneylenders indigenous to Chettinad, Tamil Nadu, the Chettiars operated throughout the Southeast Asian territories of the British Empire. They played a particularly prominent role in Burma where, alas, they were typically demonised as rapacious usurers, responsible for all manner of vices concomitant with the colonial economy. Not least of these was the chronic land alienation of the Burmese cultivator. The purpose of this paper is to reappraise the role of the Chettiars in Burma. Finding that their role was crucial in the dramatic growth in Burma's agricultural output during the colonial era, the paper disputes the moneylender stereotype so often used against them. Employing modern economic theory to the issue, the paper finds that the success of the Chettiars in Burma lay less in the high interest rates they charged, than it did to patterns of internal organisation that provided solutions to the inherent problems faced by financial intermediaries. A proper functioning financial system could have provided better solutions perhaps for Burma's long-term development, but Burma did not have such a system, then or now. Easy scapegoats for what went wrong, the Chettiars merit history's better judgement.
    JEL: Q14 O16 O17 N25
    Date: 2005–07
  5. By: Peter Murrell (Department of Economics, University of Maryland)
    Abstract: Prepared for The New Palgrave Dictionary of Economics, 2nd Edition, this essay examines the evolution of both institutions and economists' thinking on institutions during transition. Early in transition, institutions were virtually ignored in the majority of normative prescriptions, but were central in the evolutionary-institutional approach. Later, after events influenced intellectual developments, institutions were at the center of analysis. Growth is strongly related to institutional construction. Transition countries built institutions speedily but with marked variation across countries. Legal systems and independent governmental agencies were sources of institutional growth, while government bureaucracies and informal mechanisms detracted from institutional growth. In China, reforms addressed problems that institutions usually do, but in unusual ways.
    Keywords: Institutions, transition, evolutionary-institutional, shock therapy, gradualism, China, law
    JEL: P2 P3 N4 O17 K0
    Date: 2006–02
  6. By: Franco Spinelli; Carmine Trecroci
    Abstract: L’analisi dell’andamento del tasso di sconto italiano durante il Gold Standard è molto scarna. Questo lavoro comincia a rimediare al problema sia stimando alcuni semplici modelli del tasso di sconto con serie storiche a frequenza mensile e annua, sia con un’analisi documentale. Il principale risultato è che il tasso italiano appare dipendere soprattutto dal rapporto interno di liquidità e, limitatamente ai periodi di piena convertibilità della lira, dal tasso di sconto inglese. Le stime confermano inoltre un risultato di precedenti studi non quantitativi, ovvero che le autorità monetarie italiane del tempo fecero un uso della manovra dei tassi molto meno intenso di quello praticato negli altri paesi del sistema aureo.
  7. By: James M. Boughton
    Keywords: Fund , International monetary system , White, Harry Dexter , Exchange rate regimes , Capital controls , Capital flows ,
    Date: 2006–01–19
  8. By: Ben Hunt
    Keywords: Oil prices , Monetary policy , Oil crisis , Economic models ,
    Date: 2005–12–02
  9. By: Andrew Vivian (University of Durham)
    Date: 2005–09–03
  10. By: Radu Tunaru (Cass Business School, City University London); Ephraim Clark (Middlesex Business School)
    Date: 2005–09–03

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