nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒08‒05
three papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. 1846 and All That: The Rise and Fall of British Wheat Protection in the Nineteenth Century By Paul Sharp
  2. A Century of Shocks: The Evolution of the German City Size Distribution 1925 – 1999 By Maarten Bosker; Steven Brakman; Harry Garretsen; Marc Schramm
  3. Sudden Stops and Currency Drops: A Historical Look By Luis Catão

  1. By: Paul Sharp (Department of Economics, University of Copenhagen)
    Abstract: By documenting the legislative history of the Corn Laws from 1670 and using previously unused data to calculate annual Ad Valorem Equivalents for most years from 1814, it is possible to establish several important facts about British wheat protection. Statutory protection was only significant for a few years after 1815, the decline starting in the 1820s and continuing beyond the famous “repeal” in 1846. The level of protection prior to 1846 was, for many years, much lower than previous accounts have suggested. The annual time series of Ad Valorem Equivalents will allow for UK trade policy to play the important role it deserves in econometric analyses of the nineteenth century.
    Keywords: United Kingdom; Corn Laws; protectionism
    JEL: N43 N53 N73
    Date: 2006–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:kud:kuiedp:0614&r=his
  2. By: Maarten Bosker; Steven Brakman; Harry Garretsen; Marc Schramm
    Abstract: The empirical literature on city size distributions has mainly focused on the USA. The first major contribution of this paper is to provide empirical evidence on the evolution and structure of the West-German city size distribution. Using a unique annual data set that covers most of the 20th century for 62 of West-Germany's largest cities, we look at the evolution of both the city size distribution as a whole and each city separately. The West-German case is of particular interest as it has undergone major shocks, most notably WWII. Our data set allows us to identify these shocks and provide evidence on the effects of these `quasi-natural experiments' on the city size distribution. The second major contribution of this paper is that we perform unit-root tests on individual German city sizes using a substantial number of observations to analyze the evolution of the individual cities that make up the German city size distribution. Our main findings are twofold. First, WWII has had a major and lasting impact on the city size distribution. Second, the overall city size distribution does not adhere to Zipf's Law. This second finding is largely based on the results of unit root tests for individual cities to test for Gibrat's Law, the latter being a requirement for Zipf's Law to hold for the overall city-size distribution. Together these two findings are consistent with theories emphasizing increasing returns to scale in city growth.
    JEL: O18 R12
    Date: 2006
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ces:ceswps:_1728&r=his
  3. By: Luis Catão
    Abstract: This paper shows that recent manifestations of sudden stops (SSs) in international capital flows have striking parallels in the early financial globalization era preceding World War I. All main capital-importing countries then faced episodic capital flow reversals averaging some 5 percent of GDP and with a median duration of four years. Most SSs also displayed striking crosscountry synchronization, being immediately preceded by rising world interest rates. Both fixed and floating exchange rate regimes were hit, with no significant differences between them. Yet, not all SSs resulted in currency drops: while some countries experienced currency collapses, others managed to preserve exchange rate stability. These different responses are related to domestic "frictions" that heightened the procyclicality of absorption and hindered precautionary reserve accumulation in some countries relative to others.
    Keywords: Financial crisis , Capital flows , Exchange rate regimes ,
    Date: 2006–06–06
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:imf:imfwpa:06/133&r=his

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