nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒08‒26
fifteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. Possibilities and Limits: Testing in the Fiscal Military State in the Anglo-Spanish War of 1779-1783 By Rafael Torres
  2. Two Paths to Abstract Art: Kandinsky and Malevich By David W. Galenson
  4. What Determines Immigration's Impact? Comparing Two Global Centuries By Timothy J. Hatton; Jeffrey G. Williamson
  5. A New Macroeconomic Time Series: Business Profitability in Twentieth-Century Australia By Ville, Simon; Merrett, David
  6. Learning-by-Producing and the Geographic Links Between Invention and Production: Experience From the Second Industrial Revolution By Dhanoos Sutthiphisal
  7. Contractual Tradeoffs and SMEs Choice of Organizational Form, A View from U.S. and French History, 1830-2000 By Naomi R. Lamoreaux; Jean-Laurent Rosenthal
  8. Research & Development in the Telecommunication Industry in Prewar Japan |Automatic Telephone Switchboard| By Yuki Nakajima
  9. Science and Industry: Tracing the Flow of Basic Research through Manufacturing and Trade By James D. Adams; J. Roger Clemmons
  10. How Progressive is the U.S. Federal Tax System? A Historical and International Perspective By Thomas Piketty; Emmanuel Saez
  11. Reliving the '50s: The Big Push, Poverty Traps, and Takeoffs in Economic Development By William Easterly
  12. The National Maritime College of Ireland By Eamonn Greville
  13. Reflections on One Year at the Bank of Israel By Stanley Fischer
  14. The EMU after Three Years: Lessons and Challenges By Peter Bofinger
  15. Evolution and Relocation in Fashion-led Italian Districts: Evidence from two Case-Studies By Fiorenza Belussi; Alessia Sammarra

  1. By: Rafael Torres (Facultad de Ciencias Económicas y Empresariales, Universidad de Navarra)
    Abstract: The question we ask in this paper is how far Spain could be said to be a fiscalmilitary state. In other words, what were the Spanish state’s possibilities and limits in terms of emulating and following the English model? We also ask whether such an approach might give us a useful purchase on Spain’s warfare fund-raising capacity. We have focused on a specific war, the war between Great Britain and Spain from 1779 to 1783. This war was sufficiently important in both countries to call on the utmost effort from their respective states and economies. Spain had the chance in this conflict to put a stop to Great Britain’s constant attacks on the Spanish empire during the eighteenth century. But it was not only a territorial question. The feasibility of Spain’s whole economic model was also at stake. Spain’s economy and taxation system was becoming more and more heavily dependent on colonial trade. Its government had opted to run the American colonies on an increasingly intensive basis, opening up the colonial markets to a greater participation from the whole of the Spanish economy. Heading off Great Britain from the Americas was a golden chance for this Spanish growth model to prosper
    JEL: C12
  2. By: David W. Galenson
    Abstract: Wassily Kandinsky and Kazimir Malevich were both great Russian painters who became pioneers of abstract art during the second decade of the twentieth century. Yet the forms of their art differed radically, as did their artistic methods and goals. Kandinsky, an experimental artist, approached abstraction tentatively and visually, by gradually and progressively concealing forms drawn from nature, whereas Malevich, a conceptual innovator, plunged precipitously into abstraction, by creating symbolic elements that had no representational origins. The conceptual Malevich also made his greatest innovations considerably earlier in his life than the experimental Kandinsky. Interestingly, at the age of 50 Kandinsky wrote an essay that clearly described these two categories of artist, contrasting the facile and protean young virtuoso with the single-minded individual who matured more slowly but was ultimately more original.
    Date: 2006–08
  3. By: Mary MacKinnon; Chris Minns
    Abstract: We construct consumer price indices for Canada, mainly based on the expenditure records of Canada's federal penitentiaries. Regional price variation was much greater in Canada in the late nineteenth century than in the northern U.S. The new data suggest substantial price decline to 1900. Regional price variation in Canada decreased gradually to 1914, and quickly during the First World War. For 1900-14 and 1922-3, new data are largely consistent with consumer price data compiled by The Labour Gazette. The new data suggest more inflation during the First World War.
    Date: 2006–08
  4. By: Timothy J. Hatton; Jeffrey G. Williamson
    Abstract: Can history shed light on the modern debate about immigration’s labor market impact in high wage economies? This paper examines the relationship between migration and capital flows in the age of mass migration before 1914, the so-called first global century. It then assesses the effects of immigration on wages and employment with and without international capital mobility in first global century and today, that is, the second global century. The paper then explores the links between these economic relationships and immigration policy. It concludes with an explanation for the apparent difference in immigration’s impact in the two global centuries, and thus on policy.
    JEL: N3 F22 J3
    Date: 2006–08
  5. By: Ville, Simon (University of Wollongong); Merrett, David (University of Melbourne)
    Keywords: Macroeconomic time series, business profitability, Australia
    Date: 2006
  6. By: Dhanoos Sutthiphisal
    Abstract: This paper investigates the impact of ¡§learning-by-producing¡¨ on inventive activity and shows that, in both emerging (electrical equipment and supplies) and maturing (shoes and textiles) industries, the geographic association between invention and production was rather weak during the Second Industrial Revolution. Regional shifts in production were neither accompanied nor followed by corresponding increases in invention. Instead, this paper finds that the geographic location of inventive activity tended to mirror the geographic distribution of individuals with advanced technical skills appropriate to the particular industry in question. Even in the craft-based shoe industry, much of the invention came from those with the advanced technical skills. The findings suggest that scholars have over-emphasized the importance of learning-by-producing in accounting for the geographic differences in inventive activity, and underestimated the significance of technical skills or human capital amongst the population.
    JEL: N0 O3
    Date: 2006–08
  7. By: Naomi R. Lamoreaux; Jean-Laurent Rosenthal
    Abstract: Today the vast majority of multi-owner firms in the United States are corporations, but that was not the case in the past. Before the advent of the income tax, tort litigation, and significant federal regulation, entrepreneurs more often than not chose to organize as partnerships, a form that economists consider seriously flawed. Why would they make such a terrible mistake? We begin by noting that corporations created new types of contracting problems for businesses at the same time as they solved problems afflicting partnerships. We then model the tradeoffs involved in the choice of corporations versus partnerships and confirm that the model’s assumptions are consistent with U.S. legal rules up through the 1940s. The model implies that partnerships and corporations are complementary organizational forms, and we show that data from the U.S. Census of Manufactures strongly supports that implication. We also verify that the model’s assumptions hold for the broader set of organizational choices available under the French Code de Commerce and use data on multi-owner firms registered in Paris in the 1830s and 1840s to demonstrate the complementary character of the basic forms. Despite much literature emphasizing the fundamentally different environments for business associated with the French and U.S. legal regimes, the basic calculus underpinning the choice of organizational form was the same in both countries.
    JEL: D21 D86 K2 K22 L22 N8
    Date: 2006–08
  8. By: Yuki Nakajima (The Japan Society for the Promotion of Science)
    Abstract: The telephone system was not sufficiently developed in prewar Japan. This study examines the technological development of automatic telephone switchboard (ATS) to clarify the problems of telephone system in prewar Japan. Ministry of Communication(MOC) introduced automatic telephone system in 1923. From the standpoint of the telephone exchange service, it was a very opportune decision; however, it was technologically premature. Although they had conducted research on the system before WW1, their only choice was the primitive S ~ S system. Further, the dependence on import technology caused different A-type and H-type ATS to coexist. Each local telephone exchange district independently introduced a different type. The MOC had to prepare the specifications and parts for repair for two different systems. These factors hampered the improvement of the telecommunication quality. Standardizing the system by using independent technology became the biggest issue for the MOC in the 1930s. In the 1930s, some joint researches were organized with private enterprises. They tried to develop a gT-typeh or gElectronic Tube-typeh ATS. However, the T-type ATS was merely an improvement over the outdated S ~ S system with respect to the circuit design. On the other hand, Matsumae aimed at a novel technology, an electronic common control system. However, a suitable electronic tube was not invented. As a result, the telecommunication industry was unable to resolve the coexistence problem in the prewar period. However, the engineers of MOC and ATS suppliers recognized their technological backwardness and shared an awareness of the importance of standardization by independent technology. This was the starting point for the research and development system of the telecommunication industry in gPostwar Japan.h
    Keywords: Telephone system, Automatic Telephone Switchboard, Ministry of Communication, Research & Development, Joint Research
    JEL: N65 N75 O33
    Date: 2006–08
  9. By: James D. Adams (Department of Economics, Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, Troy, NY 12180-3590, USA); J. Roger Clemmons (Institute for Child Health Policy, College of Medicine of the University of Florida, PO Box 100147, Gainesville, FL 32610-0147)
    Abstract: This paper describes flows of basic research through the U.S. economy and explores their implications for scientific output at the industry and field level. The time period is the late 20th century. This paper differs from others in its use of measures of science rather than technology. Together its results provide a more complete picture of the structure of basic research flows than was previously available. Basic research flows are high within petrochemicals and drugs and within a second cluster composed of software and communications. Flows of chemistry, physics, and engineering are common throughout industry; biology and medicine are almost confined to petrochemicals and drugs, and computer science is nearly as limited to software and communications. In general, basic research flows are more concentrated within scientific fields than within industries. The paper also compares effects of different types of basic research on scientific output. The main finding is that the academic spillover effect significantly exceeds that of industrial spillovers or industry basic research. Finally, within field effects exceed between field effects, while the within- and between industry effects are equal. Therefore, scientific fields limit basic research flows more than industries.
    JEL: O3 D2
    Date: 2006–08
  10. By: Thomas Piketty; Emmanuel Saez
    Abstract: This paper provides estimates of federal tax rates by income groups in the United States since 1960, with special emphasis on very top income groups. We include individual and corporate income taxes, payroll taxes, and estate and gift taxes. The progressivity of the U.S. federal tax system at the top of the income distribution has declined dramatically since the 1960s. This dramatic drop in progressivity is due primarily to a drop in corporate taxes and in estate and gift taxes combined with a sharp change in the composition of top incomes away from capital income and toward labor income. The sharp drop in statutory top marginal individual income tax rates has contributed only moderately to the decline in tax progressivity. International comparisons confirm that is it critical to take into account other taxes than the individual income tax to properly assess the extent of overall tax progressivity, both for time trends and for cross-country comparisons. The pattern for the United Kingdom is similar to the US pattern. France had less progressive taxes than the US or UK in 1970 but has experienced an increase in tax progressivity and has now a more progressive tax system than the US or the UK.
    JEL: H2
    Date: 2006–08
  11. By: William Easterly
    Abstract: The classic narrative of economic development -- poor countries are caught in poverty traps, out of which they need a Big Push involving increased aid and investment, leading to a takeoff in per capita income -- has been very influential in development economics since the 1950s. This was the original justification for foreign aid. The narrative lost credibility for a while but has made a big comeback in the new millennium. Once again it is invoked as a rationale for large foreign aid programs. This paper applies very simple tests to the various elements of the narrative. Evidence to support the narrative is scarce. Poverty traps in the sense of zero growth for low income countries are rejected by the data in most time periods. There is evidence of divergence between rich and poor nations in the long run, but this does not imply zero growth for the poor countries. Moreover, this divergence is more associated with institutions rather than the disadvantages of initial income. The idea of the takeoff does not garner much support in the data. Takeoffs are rare in the data, most plausibly limited to the Asian success stories. Even then, the takeoffs are not associated with aid and investment as the standard narrative would imply.
    Keywords: economic development, poverty trap, foreign aid
    JEL: O1 O4 F33 F34 F35
  12. By: Eamonn Greville
    Abstract: The new National Maritime College of Ireland is regarded as the country’s most exciting and innovative development in maritime training and education and is the first tertiary institution to be built and operated under the government’s Public Private Partnership (PPP) model of procurement. The project is the outcome of a partnership between Cork Institute of Technology and the Irish Naval Service to deliver maritime training. Its building design reflects the studies’ sea-related theme, and the facilities allow the National Maritime College to meet the latest education requirements in the field. The college, in Ringaskiddy, County Cork, accepted its first cohort of students on 11 October 2004.
    Keywords: tertiary, financing, Ireland
    Date: 2005–06
  13. By: Stanley Fischer
    Abstract: In this paper I reflect on my first year as Governor of the Bank of Israel, which I joined in May 2005. I start by describing the current state of the Israeli economy and monetary policy and economic developments during the past year. I then review a series of issues that have arisen during the past year. Among them are: the monetary mechanism, which is unusual because exchange rate changes have a very rapid impact on prices; the role of inflation and interest rate expectations in policy decisions; the role of the interest rate gap with the US; the role of the Governor as chief economic adviser to the Government; banking supervision; and management and political issues.
    JEL: E50 E65
    Date: 2006–08
  14. By: Peter Bofinger (University of Wuerzburg)
    Abstract: The paper provides an analysis of the first three years of the European Monetary Union. It discusses the changeover to Euro notes, the performance of monetary policy in terms of price stability and real growth, the establishment of credibility for the ECB, and the two pillar strategy. The weakness of the euro's exchange value during the first three years is explained. Some aspects of the eastern enlargement of the eurozone are examined especially the problems that may be associated with the lack of real convergence. Other issues such as the importance of a Balassa-Samuelson effect and the need for appropriate fiscal policies are discussed.
    Keywords: European Monetary Union, European Central Bank, Euro, monetary policy
    JEL: E42 E58 E60
  15. By: Fiorenza Belussi (University of Padova); Alessia Sammarra (University of L'Aquila)
    Abstract: The aim of this paper is to contribute to the debate about how, in advanced countries, industrial districts specialised in traditional manufacturing industries evolve as a consequence of new challenges linked to the globalisation process. Using a multiple case study design, the study examines the evolution of two fashion-led Italian districts: the Montebelluna sportswear system and the Vibrata-Tordino-Vomano clothing district. Our findings reveal that cluster firms’ ability to shift from manufacturing to other activities providing higher returns along the global value chain is key to understanding the effect of globalisation and relocation processes on the cluster’s long-term competitiveness. As illustrated in this study, weak learning districts are the most threatened while innovative districts are able to enact a selective process of relocation, substituting outplaced activities with more valuable ones and attracting inward investments.
    Date: 2006–07

This nep-his issue is ©2006 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.