nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒09‒23
four papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  2. A Comparison of Five Federal Reserve Chairmen: Was Greenspan the Best? By Ray C. Fair
  3. Riding the Elephants: The Evolution of World Economic Growth and Income Distribution at the End of the Twentieth Century (1980-2000) By Albert Berry; John Serieux
  4. Entrepreneurship in biotechnology: The case of four start-ups in the Upper-Rhine Biovalley. By Antoine Bureth; Julien Pénin; Sandrine Wolff

  1. By: Mary MacKinnon; Daniel Parent
    Abstract: Approximately 1 million French-Canadians moved to the United States, mainly between 1865 and 1930, and most settled in neighboring New England. In 1900 almost a fifth of all persons born in French Canada lived in the U.S. These migrants exerted considerable efforts to maintain their language and to replicate their home country institutions, most notably the schooling system, in their new country. For decades, this resistance to assimilation generated considerable attention and concern in the U.S. The concerns are strikingly similar to those often invoked today in discussions of immigration from Hispanic countries, notably Mexico. Mexicans may not be assimilating into mainstream America as European immigrants did. We look at the convergence in the educational attainment of French Canadian immigrants across generations relative to native English-speaking New Englanders and to European Roman Catholic immigrants. The educational attainment of Franco-Americans lagged that of their fellow citizens over a long period of time. By the time of the 2000 Census, they appear to have largely achieved parity. The effects of World War II, especially military service, were very important in speeding up the assimilation process through a variety of related channels: educational attainment, language assimilation, marrying outside the ethnic group, and moving out of New England. Economic assimilation was very gradual because of the persistence of ethnic enclaves.
    JEL: I2 N30
    Date: 2006–09
  2. By: Ray C. Fair (Cowles Foundation, Yale University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the performances of the past five Federal Reserve chairmen using optimal control techniques and a macroeconometric model. Each chairman is judged by the actual performance of the economy under his term relative to what the performance would have been had he behaved optimally. Comparing chairmen only on the basis of the actual performance of the economy is not appropriate because it does not control for different exogenous-variable values and shocks that the Fed has no control over. The results suggest that Greenspan was indeed the best, but followed closely by Martin. Volcker also does well, but probably not quite as well as Greenspan and Martin. However, Volcker does much better than one would conclude he did by just looking at the actual state of the economy during his term. Miller and Burns do poorly; they should have been considerably tighter than they were.
    Keywords: Fed chairmen, Optimal control, Economic performance
    JEL: E52
    Date: 2006–09
  3. By: Albert Berry; John Serieux
    Abstract: This paper presents estimates of world economic growth for 1970-2000, and changes in the intercountry and interpersonal distribution of world income between 1980 and 2000. These estimates suggest that, while the rate of growth of the world economy slowed in the 1980-2000 period, and average within-country inequality worsened, the distribution of world income among individuals, nevertheless, improved a little. However, that result was wholly due to the exceptional economic performances of China and India. Outside these two countries, the slowdown in world growth was even more dramatic, the distribution of world income unequivocally worsened, and poverty rates remained largely unchanged.
    Keywords: world inequality trends; international income distribution, convergence, world poverty trends
    JEL: F0 I3 O4
    Date: 2006–09
  4. By: Antoine Bureth; Julien Pénin; Sandrine Wolff
    Abstract: This paper explores entrepreneurship in biotech through the in depth analysis of four new ventures located in the Upper-Rhine Biovalley. One of the strengths of this paper is the presence of both successful cases of entrepreneurship and of cases of failures. This gives the opportunity to discuss the role of several factors on the performance of a new biotech venture. Three points particularly comes out of this study: The importance of public science, without which new biotech firms could hardly exist; the role of the patent system, the importance of which we link to the business model adopted by the firm; and the importance of collaborations, which we study through the concept of distributed entrepreneurship.
    Keywords: Intellectual property rights, patents, science, distributed entrepreneurship, collective invention.
    JEL: D2 O3
    Date: 2006

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