nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒06‒03
eleven papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. Flexibility and protectionism. Swedish trade in sugar during the early modern era By Rönnbäck, Klas
  2. South German Silver, European Textiles, and Venetian Trade with the Levant and Ottoman Empire, c. 1370 to c. 1720: A non-mercantilist approach By John H Munro
  3. Before and After the Black Death: Money, Prices, and Wages in Fourteenth-Century England By John H. A. Munro
  4. Spanish Merino Wools and the Nouvelles Draperies: An Industrial Transformation in the Late-Medieval Low Countries By John H. A. Munro
  5. "Labor Management in Yawata Steel Works From 1890s To 1930s" (in Japanese) By Tateshi Mori
  6. The Anti-Red Shift – to the Dark Side: Changes in the Colour Patterns and Market Values of Flemish Luxury Woollens, 1300 - 1550 By John H. A. Munro
  7. Division of Labor and the Rise of Cities: Evidence from U.S. Industrialization, 1850-1880 By Sukkoo Kim
  8. Builders’ Wages in Southern England and the Southern Low Countries, 1346 -1500:A Comparative Study of Trends in and Levels of Real Incomes By John H. A. Munro
  9. The Political Economy of Industrial Policy in China: The Case of Aircraft Manufacturing By Andrea Goldstein; ;
  10. Measuring Poverty in the United States: History and Current Issues By Daniel Weinberg
  11. Chen Yun 1949-1956. Retouches à un portrait By Thierry Pairault

  1. By: Rönnbäck, Klas (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Sugar was of the utmost importance for the development of a transatlantic trade during the early modern era. This working paper explores the impact of institutions and institutional changes of the colonial trade in sugar focusing on one country on the European semi-periphery, namely Sweden. Through protectionist policies, Swedish merchants were able to catch a significant share of the Baltic trade in colonial goods, despite the country having no colonies of its own. This in turn enabled a diversification of the sources of colonial goods. Trade in sugar became highly flexible during the period, rapidly changing in response to a changing international market. Protectionist policies also enabled the development of a domestic sugar manufacture, which flourished during the late 18th and early 19th century. When Swedish trade policy was liberalized around the 1850s, the domestic industry went through hard times from the international competition. The introduction of sugar beet would however have even more far-reaching consequences for the international trade in sugar. Swedish sugar imports collapsed by more than 98 per cent in less than ten years when domestic production of sugar beet had gotten off to a start at the end of the 19th century. The preliminary conclusions form the first output from the work on a thesis concerned with the trade in colonial goods of actors in the European semi-periphery. One future aim is to compare the colonial trade in sugar of Sweden and Denmark. <p>
    Keywords: Economic History; Mercantilism; Protectionism; Colonialism; Colonial trade; Transatlantic trade; Colonial goods; Sugar; Sweden
    JEL: F13 F54 N43 N73
    Date: 2006–05–31
  2. By: John H Munro
    Abstract: A recurrent and indeed persistent problem in European economic history – a veritable deus ex machina -- from medieval to modern times, is Europe’s supposed ‘balance of payments’ problem in trade with the ‘East’. This supposed problem has often been couched in Mercantilist overtones: namely, that export of supposedly large volumes of precious metals, especially, silver to conduct trade with, first the Levant, and then with the rest of Asia meant a serious drainage of wealth from western Europe. This seems to be particularly true in the debate about the late-medieval ‘Great Depression’ in which some contend that this balance of payments ‘deficit’ led to monetary contraction, deflation, and then economic depression. This paper, while not denying periodic problems of monetary contraction and indeed deflation, provides a non-Mercantilist perspective on not just European but global trade from the fourteenth to early eighteenth centuries. It offers the following related theses: (1) That late-medieval monetary contraction was far more related to falling outputs of mined silver and to reductions in the income-velocity of coined money and the related problem of hoarding, the roots of which were the growth of international warfare from the 1290s, significantly financed by coinage debasements; and together they provided serious barriers to the international flow of specie and bullion, and indeed to the emergence of bullionist philosophies, which are the very core of Mercantilism. (2) That, insofar as such monetary contractions did lead to deflation, that deflation, in augmenting the purchasing power of silver (gram for gram), provided the profit motive for the technological solutions to this very same problem: namely, innovations in both mechanical and chemical engineering that produced the South German silver-copper mining boom, which quintupled Europe’s silver supplies from the 1460s to the 1540s, when even cheaper supplies of silver were arriving from the Spanish Americas. (3) That South German silver-copper mining boom, controlled by German merchant bankers who also controlled the now thriving fustian-textile (linen-cotton) industry, had two related consequences: (a) it was a major factor in the revival and expansion of the European economy in general and the growth of the Antwerp market in particular, via new transcontinental trading routes from Venice through Germany to the Brabant Fairs, based on a tripod of English woollens, South German metals, and Portuguese spices. (b) at the same time, it promoted a great expansion in Venetian trade with the Levant, to acquire not only Asian spices but also large quantities of Syrian cotton to feed the booming German fustians industry. (4) While the 15th-century Venetian trade with the Levant did indeed require large amounts of silver, perhaps enough to pay for two thirds of goods acquired in the Levant, the 16th century commerce with not just the Levant but the far larger Ottoman Empire benefited from a very new trade: the exports of fine quality Venetian woollens. This paper examines the reasons for both the rise and fall of the Venetian cloth industry (5) While traditional explanations for the rapid decline of the Venetian cloth industry in the 17th century have focused on Venice’s own ‘internal faults’, this paper offers an alternative explanation: how England’s new Levant Company and the English cloth industries so successfully gained a major share of Ottoman and Persian markets, at the direct expense of Venice: through a combination of diplomacy and superior naval technology. Their success meant that even less silver was required to conduct this trade with the Ottoman Empire, than had been true for Venice. (6) A further major factor in the decline of Venice in the 17th century was the final loss of the Asian spice trades, which had involved close Venetian ties with the Ottomans, to the Dutch and the English, who succeeded where the Portugese had failed. That story in turn allows us, with much more ample data, to examine the nature of vastly larger ‘balance of payments deficits’, so that as much as 80 percent of Asian goods had to be acquired with silver. That silver came not from Europe but principally from the Spanish Americas. Thus the major thesis of the paper is that first the South German and then the Spanish American silver mining booms greatly benefited Europe by promoting a vast increase in truly global trade.
    Keywords: Venice, Levant, Ottoman Empire, South Germany, Antwerp, Portugal, England, Asia, East Indies, balance of payments, gold, silver, international trade,
    JEL: E3 E4 F14 F20 F37 F40 H56 L67 L71 L90 N13 N43 N73
    Date: 2006–04–10
  3. By: John H. A. Munro
    Abstract: One of the most common myths in European economic history, and indeed in Economics itself, is that the Black Death of 1347-48, followed by other waves of bubonic plague, led to an abrupt rise in real wages, for both agricultural labourers and urban artisans – one that led to the so-called ‘Golden Age of the English Labourer’, lasting until the early 16th century. While there is no doubt that real-wages in mid- to late- 15th century England did reach a peak far higher than that ever achieved in past centuries, real wages in England did not, in fact, rise in the immediate aftermath of the Black Death. In southern England, real wages of building craftsmen (rural and urban), having plummeted with the natural disaster of the Great Famine (1315-21), thereafter rose to a new peak in 1336-40. But then their real wages fell during the 1340s, and continued their decline after the onslaught of the Black Death, indeed into the 1360s. Not until the later 1370s – almost thirty years after the Black Death – did real wages finally recover and then rapidly surpass the peak achieved in the late 1330s. Thereafter, the rise in real wages was more or less continuous, though at generally slower rates, during the 15th century, reaching a peak in 1476-80 – at a level not thereafter surpassed until 1886-90, by the usual methods of calculating real wages with index numbers: i.e., by NWI/CPI = RWI [nominal wage index divided by the consumer price index equals the real wage index]. Most of the textbooks that still perpetuate the myth about the role of the Black Death in raising real wages, as an almost immediate consequence, employ a demographic model based on Ricardian economics, which predicts (ceteris paribus) that depopulation will result in falling grain prices and thus in falling rents on grain-producing lands (on land in general) and in rising real wages. The fall in population – perhaps as much as 50 percent by the late 15th century (from the 1310 peak) – presumably altered the land:labour ratio sufficiently to increase the marginal productivity of labour and thus its real wage (though in economic theory the real wage is determined by the marginal revenue product of labour). The rise in real wages would also have been a product of the fall in the cost of living, chiefly determined by bread-grain prices, whose decline would have been the inevitable result of both the abandonment of high-cost marginal lands and the rise in the marginal productivity of agricultural labour. But the evidence produced in this study demonstrates that the Black Death was followed, in England, by almost thirty years of high grain prices – high in both nominal and real terms; and that was a principal reason for the post-Plague behaviour of real wages. This study differs from all traditional models by examining the role of monetary forces in producing deflation in the second and final quarters of the fourteenth century, but severe inflation in between those quarters (i.e., from the early 1340s to the mid 1370s). The analysis of the evidence on money, prices, and wages in this study concludes that monetary forces and the consequent behaviour of the price level – in terms of those deflations and intervening inflation – were the most powerful determinant of the level of real wages (i.e., in terms of the formula: NWI/CPI = RWI). Thus the undisputed rise in nominal or money wages following the Black Death was literally ‘swamped’ by the post-Plague inflation, so that real wages fell. Conversely, the rise of real wages in the second quarter of the fourteenth century was principally due to a deflation in which consumer prices fell much more than did nominal wages. In the final quarter of the century, the even stronger rise in real wages was principally due to another deflation in which consumer prices fell sharply, but one in which, for the first time in recorded English history, nominal wages did not fall: an era that inaugurated the predominance of wage-stickiness in English labour markets for the next six centuries. But that perplexing phenomenon of downward wage-stickiness must be left to other studies. The 14th century is the most violent one before the 20th; and violent disruptions from plague, war, and civil unrest undoubtedly produced severe supply shocks and high (relative) prices. Europe also experienced more severe oscillations in monetary changes and consequently in price levels – i.e., the aforesaid deflations and intervening inflation – during the 14th century than in any other before the 20th.
    Keywords: inflation, deflation, coinage debasements, monetary flows, prices, nominal wages, real wages, labour, marginal productivity of labour, Black Death, bubonic plagues, depopulation, agricultural labourers, building craftsmen, labour markets
    JEL: E3 E4 E5 I1 I3 J1 J2 J3 J4 N1 N3 N4
    Date: 2005–03–11
  4. By: John H. A. Munro
    Abstract: This paper, a much revised version of an earlier paper (with different tables), seeks to explain why Spanish merino wools arrived so late in the Low Countries, only from the 1420s, why initially only those cloth producers known as the nouvelles draperies chose to use them, and why their resort to such merino wools allowed at least some of them to escape the current crisis afflicting the traditional 'old draperies', and indeed to expand to become the chief producers of woollen cloths in the southern Low Countries during the later fifteenth and early sixteenth centuries. Although the merino have been by far the world’s finest wools, since at least the seventeenth century, English wools had enjoyed that supremacy in the medieval era. The Spanish sheep breeds that produced the first merino wools did not emerge until or after the 1340s; and it took many decades of experimental breeding and improved flock management to produce better quality wools in sufficient quantities for export (first to Italy). Before the introduction of merinos, the indigenous Spanish sheep had produced some of the worst wools in Europe. In the thirteenth century, they were used only in making very cheap, coarse, light cloths, when north-west Europe was producing a wide range of textiles, from such coarse light generally worsted-style fabrics to the most luxurious woollens. For reasons that I have elaborated elsewhere, the onset of a spreading stain of chronic and debilitating wars, from the 1290s, throughout the Mediterranean basin and north-west Europe, resulted in a sharp rise in transaction costs that made long-distance trade in cheaper textiles unprofitable. Consequently, by the 1330s, most north-west European draperies had abandoned export-oriented production of cheaper line textiles to concentrate on very high priced luxury woollens, those that could so much better 'bear the freight'. Furthermore, in Flanders, a considerable number of small-town and village producers engaged in precisely the same industrial re-orientation; but in producing genuine heavy weight woollens, they sought to imitate those of the large Flemish towns; and, in selling their cloths at lower prices, came to be known as the nouvelles draperies. This industrial reorientation meant that cloth producers in the Low Countries became all the more reliant on English wools, above all the traditional urban draperies (who came to use such wools exclusively). The English crown was quick to exploit this dependency by sharply raising export taxes, which, by the 1390s, constituted half of the sales price; and that in turn accounted for up to 70 percent of production costs in the Low Countries' urban draperies. Meanwhile, English cloth exports, very lightly taxed, gained an enormous cost and thus price advantage, but one not fully exploited until the fifteenth century. The catalyst for the final economic crisis, one that brought about the irredeemable decline of most of the urban draperies in the Low Countries, and the expansion of the nouvelles draperies, took place from 1429 to 1473, when the English crown sought to exploit the wool trade even further, in pursuing ill-advised bullionist policies: by requiring that the Calais Staple wool cartel sharply raise prices, that it seel all wools only for 'ready English money' without credit, and that it deliver one third of the sales receipts to the mint in gold bullion. Not until the 1470s did the Burgundians succeed in having these bullionist ordinances revoked. Meanwhile the traditional Flemish and Brabantine draperies, in continuing to use such high-cost English wools exclusively, for fear of losing customers, ensured their own rapid decline, indeed losing markets to both the English cloth trade and the nouvelles draperies, who also acquired considerable capital and labour from the declining draperies. Their success, as less quality-conscious imitators, lay in their willingness to use the far cheaper but now improved Spanish wools. An historic prejudice against pre-merino Spanish wools probably explains whey even they had not used these wools before the onset of this crisis. Having displaced the traditional draperies, the nouvelles draperies reached their apogee in the 1540s, when they were superseded by the sayetteries, after international market conditions had once more favoured longdistance trade in truly cheaper, light textiles.
    Keywords: wool, cloth, woollen, worsteds, sheep-breeding and management, the Nouvelles Draperies, sayetteries, Old Draperies, industrial organization, taxation, fiscal policies, monetary policies, transaction costs, cartels, Calais Staple, England, Spain, Flanders, the Low Countries, the Mediterranean, the Hanseatic League.
    JEL: D4 D7 F1 F2 H3 L1 N4 N5 N6 N7 Q2
    Date: 2005–03–11
  5. By: Tateshi Mori (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: Yawata Steel Works, which now belongs to Nippon Steel Corporation, was the first large scale integrated steel making enterprise in Japan. As an enterprise owned by the Japanese Government, it started iron and steel making in 1901. The enterprise grew in size so rapidly that in the 1920s it employed about 30,000 workers. The Yawata Steel Works consisted of a huge complex of numerous mills. The total number of blast furnace mills, steel making mills, roll mills, repair shops, railway shops and other mills were counted as more than one hundred in the late 1920. Although individual mills had to follow a primitive production control and accounting requirements imposed by the top management, the execution of the business was largely left to mill managers. It is important to note that each mill was more or less independent of the control by the top management in its implementation of labor management. Until early 1910s, most of the labor management in Yawata had been carried out by the mill managers who were responsible for recruitment, discharge, promotion, and pay raise of their workers. For the whole period, there existed a central labor office which was in charge of labor management in general. But the resources of the office were so limited that tasks it could perform were mainly confined to enactment of by-laws which stipulated codes of labor conditions for operators and day laborers. In order to compensate for the weak position of the central labor office and to strengthen the control over individual mills, the top management with the assistance of the central labor office made use of a stratified personnel system. While the status of top and middle management which included executive officers, engineers and assistant engineers in its fold was defined by the statutes and governmental decrees, the top management could decide the number and the status of the lower rank of supervisors. As there had always been a need with the rise of production in each mill to increase the number of lower ranks of supervisors, the top management and the central labor office could gain control over the activities of each mill through its policy as to supervisors. Thus, until the outbreak of the war in Europe, the role of the central labor office remained quite limited. But the economic boom which took place during and after the war changed the situation. The hectic economic activities all over Japan produced an acute labor shortage almost everywhere in Japan. The Yawata Steel Works was forced to raise the workers' pay, and the following inflationary pressures invigorated the workers' demand for better working conditions. After the short-lived unsuccessful strikes in February 1920, the top management implemented a series of reforms in labor management which were to change the role of the central labor offices. One of the reforms was an establishment of the works councils, the labor offices being responsible for its working. New supervisory classes mostly recruited from operators were created. The labor office began issuing a bi-monthly newspaper. As it was evident that each mill could do almost nothing in reacting to the workers' demand, the labor management by the central labor offices began to take the place of the management by individual mills. The economic depression following the post-war boom also contributed to the strengthening of the function of the central labor office. The need to raise productivity by way of restraining the increase of man-power necessarily limited the power of each mill in its recruitment activity. In case a mill manager wanted to increase the number of his workers, he was required to get a permission from the central labor office. The manning was no more regarded as a matter which only mill managers could handle. The central labor office could decide the number of workers which a mill could employ, move workers from one mill to another more easily, start productivity and safety campaigns which mobilized all the workers. The evidence as to the labor management shows that there was a clear-cut trend toward centralization within the Steel Works. But it will exaggerate the situation to say that there was no strong trend other than centralization. We cannot forget the countervailing trend of decentralization at this period. Accounting system was the case in point. In earlier period the top management controlled the activities of each mill through a centralized accounting system, but in the 1920s and 1930s there developed an accounting system which put more responsibility for cost control on each mill. Even in the labor management, centralization and decentralization took place at the same time. While the central labor office was responsible in checking the working of the wage systems, each mill could invent and implement a local wage system as long as it was based on the general wage policy. In the productivity drive promoted by the central labor office, each mill set up a committee including staffs and workers in order to discuss the productivity measures. The centralization in the labor management of Yawata Steel Works is important in that it became an integral part of the policy of the top management to achieve a highly integrated state of production. Before the application of Taylorism and other production techniques on a large scale which began in 1950s, there were few methods available to the top management in coordinating the activities of each mill. The labor management by the central labor office was one of those methods which could offer an effective means of coordination. The emergence of the new way of running a giant enterprise through the centralized labor management will be also of note in its connection with the fact that from the late 1930s to 1950s the Steel Works made use of the centralized labor management in mobilizing workers participation in war production effort and in post war reconstruction. After the Second World War the newly established labor union organizing operators of the Yawata Steel Works held joint consultation with the management. The issues discussed was status of operators, manning policy and pay rise, all of which the central labor office had dealt with before the war. It will not miss the point to say that the centralized labor management became an institutional basis on which post war industrial relations was constructed.
    Date: 2005–04
  6. By: John H. A. Munro
    Abstract: The Anti-Red Shift – to the Dark Side: Changes in the Colour Patterns and Market Values of Flemish Luxury Woollens, 1300 - 1550 This study documents, though it cannot fully explain, the striking shift in the spectrum of colour patterns in woollen textiles, from those of the Black Death era in the mid to late fourteenth century to those of the fifteenth and the first half of the sixteenth century, in the southern Low Countries: a radical shift from bright red and vivid colours, especially scarlet, or mixed colours (in medley and striped woollens) to much darker, blue-based colours, ending up with overwhelmingly black colours. The evidence is taken from the annual purchases of high-grade luxury quality woollen textiles for the upper echelons of the civic governments of Bruges (from 1302 to 1496) and of Mechelen (1361-1415, and 1471 - 1550): for the burgermasters or mayors, the aldermen (schepenen), and the upper clerks. . Thus, in the Mechelen civic accounts, 75 percent of the woollens purchased for these civic leaders, from 1471 to 1550, were black, uniformly dark black. In the first half of the sixteenth century, from 1501 to 1550, 98 percent of those woollens were black. While other colours – reds, greens, blues, browns – can also be found, they were purchased only for the lesser officials. Clearly the civic leaders, the urban ‘patriciate’ had acquired a decisive preference for black woollens, one also shown by the nobility. But at Bruges, in the four decades of the mid fourteenth century, from the 1340s (just before the Black Death) to the 1370s, the bright, vivid, red or scarlet, and multi-coloured textiles clearly predominated: varying from 72.4 to 81.7 percent by number purchased, and from 77.25 to 86.19 per cent by value. The differences in percentages by number and value is explained by the decisive prominence of the most costly and luxurious of all medieval woollens: the scarlets, dyed in the extremely costly brilliant red dye kermes (extracted from Mediterranean insects). Scarlets often accounted for over a third of the textiles so purchased in the 14th century, but their number fell sharply in the 15th century, along with the radical shift in the colour spectrum to much darker blue and then black textiles. This study explains the differences in the production costs and values of scarlets and of other dyed woollen broadcloths, while demonstrating with comparative price and wage analyses (i.e., the purchasing power of industrial wages) that only the very rich could afford to buy these textiles: that the principal markets were the nobility, the upper mercantile bourgeoisie, and political leaders. Indeed, a master mason would have to spend more than a year’s income to buy a scarlet. The famed Johan Huizinga (Autumn of the Middle Ages) had indeed commented on this predilection for dark and especially black (with purples) colours in the dress of the mid-fifteenth-century Burgundian court; but he was mistaken in his supposition that by the end of this century, clothing fashions had gone more toward blues, in light of the evidence from the Mechelen accounts. Huizinga and others have suggested various theories for this shift in the colour spectrum for textiles and for the later preference for the ‘dark side’, but none – including any that I can offer – is convincing. Economic historians, however, must not be so supply-side oriented that they ignore the vital question of colours and thus fashions in textiles, in creating market demand. For the subsequent victory of the New Draperies, over the costly, heavy-weight woollens of the Old Draperies, in producing lighter, cheaper, but also more brightly dyed textiles, in more vivid colours, a transformation followed by the massive influx of Asian printed calicoes (with radical floral and geometric designs), helped to create the market conditions for the 18th-century Industrial Revolution, in both geographic range and income distributions. JEL Classifications: F10, L11, L15, L67, M30, N63, N93, O52.
    Keywords: wool, cloth, woollens, worsteds, scarlets, dyes, colours, Flanders, Brabant, civic governments, fashions, markets, Industrial Revolution
    JEL: F10 L11 L15 L67 M30 N63 N93 O52
    Date: 2006–02–13
  7. By: Sukkoo Kim
    Abstract: Industrial revolution in the United States first took hold in rural New England as factories arose and grew in a handful of industries such as textiles and shoes. However, as factory scale economies rose and factory production techniques were adopted by an ever growing number of industries, industrialization became concentrated in cities throughout the Northeastern region which came to be known as the manufacturing belt. While it is extremely difficult to rule out other types of agglomeration economies such as spillovers, this paper suggests that these geographic developments associated with industrial revolution in the U.S. are most consistent with explanations based on division of labor, job search and matching costs.
    JEL: N6 N9 R3
    Date: 2006–05
  8. By: John H. A. Munro
    Abstract: The traditional and almost universal method of expressing real wages is by index numbers, according to the formula: RWI = NWI/CPI: i.e., the real wage is the quotient of the nominal (money) wage index divided by the consumer price index, all employing a common base period (here: 1451-75 = 100). This method is very useful in comparing long-term trends, and in ascertaining whether changes in nominal (money) wages or changes in the price level were paramount in determining changes in real wages. But it does not permit us to make any judgements about the levels of real wages and thus does not permit us to make comparisons of real wages amongst different regions. This paper presents a new method of presenting and comparing real wages, and one that may also be independent of any common base period. This particular paper compares the actual changing levels of real wages for building craftsmen and their journeymenlabourers in southern England, Flanders, and Brabant, in the late medieval era (1346-1500): and the real wage is expressed here as the number of very similar ‘baskets of consumables’ that a craftsmen and his journeyman could each purchase with his annual money wage income, based on 210 days of employment each year. Using the working papers for Phelps Brown & Hopkins’ very famous price and real-wage indexes for England (1264-1954), which were presented only in disembodied index numbers, I was able to compute the annual values of all commodities in their ‘basket of consumables’ and thus the total value in pence sterling. Herman Van der Wee had constructed a price-index for the Antwerp region (1400-1700), with annual values in pence groot Brabant (but still converted into index numbers); and I have produced a similar price index for Flanders (1348-1500), with annual values in pence groot Flemish. All three baskets have very similar contents. All wages and prices are expressed in terms of quinquennial (five-year) harmonic means The results of this comparative analysis are best expressed in the nine graphs that accompany this paper. But some brief conclusions may be stated here. First (as I had contended in two recent articles) the Black Death did not usher in a ‘golden age of the labourer’ in either England or Flanders, but was instead followed by a quarter century of falling real wages, because rampant inflation erased and countered the gains in nominal (money) wages. Real wages rose in the very late 14th and early 15th century because of a combination of institutional wage-stickiness and deflation. In the Low Countries, beset with war-induced and very inflationary coinage debasements, real wages again fell until the late 1430s, rising thereafter only with monetary stability, deflation, and ‘wage-stickiness; but then falling once more from the 1460s, because of warfare and debasement-induced inflations (to the 1490s). This evidence refutes the almost universally accepted axiom that the real wage is determined entirely by the marginal revenue product of labour. I do not, however, completely rule out the role of changes in productivity, though I offer the hypothesis that regional differences in Total Factor Productivity (and some degree of factor immobility) must be called upon to explain marked differences in real wages. The most striking difference is that, at the time of the Black Death, real wages for master building craftsmen in southern England were only a third of those enjoyed by master craftsmen in Bruges; but by the 1480s, when inflation was far more serious in Flanders than in England, that gap had narrowed to just about 80 percent of that for the Bruges craftsmen, still the best paid in north-west Europe. In Bruges, the craftsmen’s journeymen did not fare as well, however, earning only half the master’s wage, while the English journeymen came to earn two-thirds of their masters’ wage by the 15th century – and sometimes, during periods of severe debasement-induced inflations in Flanders, the English journeyman’s real wage was slightly higher than that for his Bruges counterpart. In general, English building craftsmen fared better than their counterparts in Antwerp, earning somewhat less in the early 15th century, but more in the last third of the century, when inflations from severe coinage debasements again reduced real wages in the Low Countries.
    Keywords: prices, price-indexes, wage-indexes, nominal and real wages, wage-stickiness, coinage, debasements, relative prices, inflations, deflations, building craftsmen, journey-men labourers, England, Flanders, Brabant, Antwerp
    JEL: F4 J1 J3 J4 J5 N1 N3 N4 N6
    Date: 2005–03–11
  9. By: Andrea Goldstein; ;
    Abstract: Since 1960, only one new country, Brazil, has succeeded in delivering more than one civil jet per month. Otherwise, all the countries now offering world-class planes were established in aviation by the end of World War I. This being said, low-cost producers within several of the newly emerging markets have already acquired front-end manufacturing expertise as a direct result of industrial offset contracts and/or other forms of technology transfer. In all such cases, government intervention, notably through state ownership, has been predominant, but failures have been numerous in view of the difficulty of aligning ownership structure to financial, managerial, and technological requirements and of garnering the support of domestic interest groups. In this paper the focus is China’s efforts to build a world-class aircraft manufacturing industry. In the first half of the 1990s the potential of the Chinese industry to mount a competitive challenge to Western aircraft builders was largely discounted. Nowadays, as China strives to bear the ARJ-21 project to execution and even considers entering the market for wide-bodies, the threat is taken more seriously. The growth in the Chinese air transport market has reinforced the bargaining power of national aircraft producers and authorities are giving priority to building science and technology capacity in this area. Progress in creating military/civilian synergies has proven much more modest – especially when compared to the shipbuilding industry – and better coordination in the overall industry comes a distant fourth in the explanations’ peaking order.
    Keywords: aerospace, China
    JEL: H11 L62 O14
    Date: 2005–07–01
  10. By: Daniel Weinberg
    Abstract: Formal measurement of poverty in the United States is now about 40 years old. This paper first briefly describes the origins and basis of the official poverty thresholds adopted by the federal government in the late 1960s. Then, it discusses in some detail some of the more current issues that observers suggest must be addressed if changes are to be made. The final sections discuss recent efforts to propose alternates to the current official approach.
    Date: 2006–04
  11. By: Thierry Pairault (CECMC - Centre d'études sur la Chine moderne et contemporaine - [CNRS : UMR8561] - [Ecole des Hautes Etudes en Sciences Sociales])
    Abstract: Portrait d'un économiste réformateur modéré dans la tourmente des premières années de la Chine populaire
    Keywords: Chine;économie;réformes;Chen Yun;années 1950
    Date: 2006–05–25

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