nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒09‒30
thirteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. UK monetary regimes and macroeconomic stylised facts By Luca Benati
  2. India's contribution to the British balance of payments, 1757-1812 By Javier Cuenca Esteban
  3. The South African poor white problem in the early 20th century: Lessons for poverty today By Johan Fourie
  4. Growth And Structural Change In Spain, 1850-2000. By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  5. Growth, Inequality, and Poverty in Spain, 1850-2000: Evidence and Speculation. By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  6. Monetary reform in times of Charles II (1679-1686): Aspects concerning the issued dispositions. By Cecilia Font de Villanueva
  7. Military Positions and Post-Service Occupational Mobility of Union Army Veterans, 1861-1880 By Chulhee Lee
  8. Contract Enforcement and Argentina’s Long-Run Decline By Leandro Prados de la Escosura; Isabel Sanz Villarroya
  9. The long-term impact of French settlement on education in Algeria By Ouarda Merrouche
  10. A Comparison of Five Federal Reserve Chairmen: Was Greenspan the Best? By Ray C. Fair
  11. On the divergence of evolutionary research paths in the past fifty years: a comprehensive bibliometric account By Sandra Tavares Silva; Aurora A.C. Teixeira
  12. What Has Mattered to Economics Since 1970 By E. Han Kim; Adair Morse; Luigi Zingales
  13. BNP-begreppets historia By Sandelin, Bo

  1. By: Luca Benati
    Abstract: We exploit the marked changes in UK monetary arrangements since the metallic standards era to investigate continuity and changes across monetary regimes in key macroeconomic stylised facts in the United Kingdom. We find that, historically, inflation persistence has been the exception, rather than the rule, with inflation estimated to have been highly persistent only during the period between the floating of the pound, in June 1972, and the introduction of inflation targeting, in October 1992. As a corollary, our results clearly reject Mishkin's explanation for time variation in the extent of the Fisher effect, favouring instead Barsky's theory. We document a remarkable stability across regimes in the correlation between inflation and the rates of growth of both narrow and broad monetary aggregates at the very low frequencies, thus countering the Whiteman-McCallum criticism of Lucas. The post-1992 inflation-targeting regime appears to have been characterised, to date, by the most stable macroeconomic environment in recorded UK history, with the volatilities of the business-cycle components of real GDP, national accounts aggregates, and inflation measures having been, post-1992, systematically lower than for any of the pre-1992 monetary regimes/historical periods, often markedly so, as in the case of inflation and real GDP. The Phillips correlation between inflation and unemployment was flattest under the gold standard, steepest between 1972 and 1992. In line with Ball, Mankiw and Romer, evidence points towards a positive correlation between mean inflation and the steepness of the trade-off. We show how Keynes, in his dispute with Dunlop and Tarshis on real wage cyclicality, was entirely right: during the inter-war period, real wages were strikingly countercyclical. By contrast, under inflation targeting they have been, so far, strongly procyclical.
  2. By: Javier Cuenca Esteban
    Abstract: The East India Company's "regulated" trade monopoly more effectively served Britain's national interest during the French wars than might be inferred from contemporary complaints and recent scholarship. The Board of Control's assessment of India's importance to the British balance of payments in the 1780s was well informed and was borne out by subsequent developments. British net inflows from India remained substantial through 1765-1812 and were arguably least dispensable. British trade with Asia most frequently outgrew the worldwide totals and retained some of the acquired gains to the end of the period. The real constraints faced by private traders should be weighed against the external economies and scale advantages rendered by the East India Company to a wider range of British interests.
    Date: 2006–03
  3. By: Johan Fourie (Department of Economics, University of Stellenbosch)
    Abstract: The causes of the poor white problem, first noted at a Dutch Reformed Church Synod in 1886, were unclear; many blamed the inadequate education system, urbanisation, cheap wages or cultural factors, while others argued that external events such as the rinderpest disease or the Anglo-Boer war added to the numbers of poor whites. Today, poverty is still at the heart of many policy debates in South Africa. A bad educational legacy, urbanisation, labour legislation, culture and tradition, and external factors are still amongst the factors said to be the causes of poverty. This paper assesses the similarities and differences between black poverty today and white poverty a century ago, and suggests possible policy lessons to learn from the past.
    Keywords: poverty, poor white problem, inequality, policy proposals
    JEL: N37 N97 I31
    Date: 2006
  4. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura
    Abstract: Long run economic progress in modern Spain is assessed in this paper and its comparative performance placed in historical perspective. Over one and a half centuries, income per person rose 15 times. Three main phases can be established: 1850-1950, 1951-1974 and 1975-2000. The finding of growth continuity between mid-nineteenth and mid-twentieth century is at odds with the widespread view of a nineteenth century of failure and a successful twentieth century. Spain underperformed in the long run mostly due to its sluggish growth in the hundred years up to 1950. Higher destruction of human capital than of physical capital during the Spanish Civil War and its aftermath help explain her weaker post-World War II performance. Catching up took place in the late twentieth century, in which the years 1959-74 stand out. Structural change contributed significantly to growth acceleration while lack of exposition to international competition represents a recurrent element of retardation.
    Date: 2006–09
  5. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura
    Abstract: Was the Civil War (1936-39) originated by staggering inequality and extreme poverty? How did Franco’s dictatorship (1939-75) affect inequality and poverty? As a first step to provide an answer, growth and inequality over the long-run are assessed and their impact on absolute poverty calibrated. The paper concludes that during the last one and a half centuries economic growth, but also the decline in inequality during the Interwar years and since the late 1950s, led to a substantial reduction in absolute poverty. Raising inequality and poverty do not seem to have triggered the Civil War.
    Date: 2006–09
  6. By: Cecilia Font de Villanueva
    Abstract: During the reign of Carlos II drastic monetary reform was carried out, which once and for all ended the tremendous monetary instability that took place in Castile throughout the whole Seventeenth century. Between 1680 and 1686, six monetary rules were adopted. The path chosen to attain the stability was not easy due to the state of the coinage. The reform tried to provide the Kingdom with a currency properly valued for which it was later decreed the devaluation and then the subsequent removal of the circulating copper coins. Simultaneously, along with the gathered metal, new purely copper made coins were ordered with adjusted value. Once the stability of the lesser value coinage was obtained, the reach of the reform was extended to the gold and silver pieces to equate them to the new monetary values.
    Date: 2006–09
  7. By: Chulhee Lee
    Abstract: Although the Civil War has attracted a great deal of scholarly attention, little is known about how different wartime experiences of soldiers influenced their civilian lives after the war. This paper examines how military rank and duty of Union Army soldiers while in service affected their post-service occupational mobility. Higher ranks and non-infantry duties appear to have provided more opportunities for developing skills, especially those required for white-collar jobs. Among the recruits who were unskilled workers at the time of enlistment, commissioned and non-commissioned officers were much more likely to move up to a white-collar job by 1880. Similarly, unskilled recruits who had served on white-collar military duties were more likely to enter a white-collar occupation by 1880. The higher occupational mobility of higher-ranking soldiers is likely to have resulted from disparate human capital accumulations offered by their military positions rather than from their superior abilities.
    JEL: J24 J5 N3
    Date: 2006–08
  8. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura; Isabel Sanz Villarroya
    Abstract: Argentina has slipped from being among the ten richest countries in the world by the eve of World War I to its current position close to developing countries. Why did Argentina fall behind? In this paper we employ a structural model to investigate the extent to which contract enforcement, as captured by Clague, Keefer, Knack, and Olson’s “Contract Intensive Money”, conditioned broad capital accumulation and economic growth in Argentina and, consequently, the country’s relative international position. Our results suggest that poor contract enforcement played a major role in Argentina’s unique experience of long-run economic decline.
    Date: 2006–09
  9. By: Ouarda Merrouche
    Abstract: In settlement colonies, the economic systems, infrastructure and development projects of the settlers exclusively served their own needs. The disastrous outcomes of this discrimination became apparent in the post-colonial era particularly as regards education. In Algeria under French rule (1930-1962) education was almost exclusively reserved to French and other European settlers and as a consequence only ten per cent of Muslim Algerians were literate at independence. While the majority of the settlers left Algeria in 1962, the infrastructure remained. This paper exploits substantial regional variations in the non-Muslims proportion of the population on the eve of the war of independence (1954) in Algeria to evaluate the long term impact of colonial discrimination in public goods allocation on education levels. Using an instrumental variables approach to correct for endogeneous sorting of settlers and natives into regions my results indicate that settlement regions, which inherited a larger stock of infrastructure per capita at independence, have persistently higher literacy rates relative to extractive regions. However, these disparities tend to vanish over time probably as a result of the massive funds allocated to the education sector by the successive governments in the post-independence era.
    Date: 2006–08
  10. By: Ray C. Fair
    Date: 2006–09–22
  11. By: Sandra Tavares Silva (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia do Porto, Universidade do Porto); Aurora A.C. Teixeira (CEMPRE, Faculdade de Economia do Porto, Universidade do Porto)
    Abstract: This work presents a comprehensive survey on evolutionary economics intending at exploring the main research path and contributions of this theorizing framework using bibliometric methods. This documentation effort is based on a review of the abstracts from articles published in all economic journals gathered from the Econlit database over the past fifty years. Before 1990, the importance of published evolutionary related research is almost negligible. More than 90% of total papers were published after that date. An important point in the analysis is developed around the choices that have been made by evolutionist researchers in terms of formalism versus empiricism. The general perception within evolutionary (and non-evolutionary) researchers is that in this field formalization lags behind the conceptual work. However, as we show in the present paper, formal approaches have a reasonable and increasing share of published papers between 1969 and 2006 (around one-third). In contrast, purely empirical-related works are relatively scarce, involving a meagre and stagnant percentage (7%) of published works for the period 1992 up to 2006. The most important method, however, is the ‘Appreciative’ with approximately half of the articles. In addition, as evolutionary contributions apparently have not converged to an integrated approach, we document the more important paths emergent in this field. Our results show two rather extreme main research strands: ‘History of Economic Thought and Methodology’ (29.0%) and ‘Games’ (18.4%). ‘Development, Environment and Policy’ (14.2%) emerges as the third most frequent category.
    Keywords: evolutionary, methodology, bibliometry, Econlit
    Date: 2006–09
  12. By: E. Han Kim; Adair Morse; Luigi Zingales
    Abstract: We compile the list of articles published in major refereed economics journals during the last 35 years that have received more than 500 citations. We document major shifts in the mode of contribution and in the importance of different sub-fields: Theory loses out to empirical work, and micro and macro give way to growth and development in the 1990s. While we do not witness any decline in the primacy of production in the United States over the period, the concentration of institutions within the U.S. hosting and training authors of the highly-cited articles has declined substantially.
    JEL: A11 B20 O33
    Date: 2006–09
  13. By: Sandelin, Bo (Department of Economics, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Det första kända försöket att beräkna värdet av ett helt lands produktion eller inkomst brukar tillskrivas den engelske 1600-talsekonomen William Petty. Adam Smith diskuterade beräkningsprinciperna i Folkens välstånd (1776) och menade att bara varuproduktion skall inkluderas, och den ståndpunkten övertogs av Marx ungefär 100 år senare. Denna uppfattning hade tidigt kritiserats, och Alfred och Mary Paley Marshall betonade i slutet av 1800-talet att produktionen av både varor och tjänster bör ingå, vilket också är den princip som tillämpas i nutida nationalräkenskaper. Irving Fisher avvek i början av 1900-talet genom att bara vilja inkludera tjänsteproduktion, men å andra sidan menade han att även kortlivade varor ger tjänster. En terminologisk förändring skedde i mitten av nittonhundratalet genom att man började tala om nationalprodukt snarare än nationalinkomst; den senare termen hade tidigare varit vanlig även då det primärt varit produktionen som man mätt. Det skedde samtidigt en förskjutning av intresset från nettobegreppet till bruttobegreppet, BNP. Under 1900-talet växte internationell harmonisering av beräkningsprinciperna fram i hägn av FN, OECD, IMF och EU. <p>
    Keywords: Bruttonationalprodukt; BNP; nationalräkenskaper.
    JEL: B10 E01
    Date: 2006–08–31

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