nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2006‒12‒09
eleven papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
Bristol Business School

  1. Lost Decades: Lessons from Post-Independence Latin America for Today's Africa By Bates, Robert H; Coatsworth, John H; Williamson, Jeffrey G
  2. Losing our Marbles in the New Century? The Great Rebalancing in Historical Perspective By Meissner, Christopher M; Taylor, Alan M
  3. The Bell Jar: Commercial Interest Rates between Two Revolutions, 1688-1789 By Flandreau, Marc; Galimard, Christophe; Jobst, Clemens; Nogués Marco, Maria Del Pilar
  4. Protectionism, agricultural prices and relative factor incomes: Sweden’s wage-rental ratio, 1877-1926 By Bohlin, Jan; Larsson, Svante
  5. The income distributional consequences of agrarian tariffs in Sweden on the eve of World War I By Bohlin, Jan
  6. Post-conflict Privatisation: A Review of Developments in Serbia and Bosnia Herzegovina By Kate Bayliss
  7. The Long Run Health and Economic Consequences of Famine on Survivors: Evidence from China’s Great Famine By Xin Meng; Nancy Qian
  8. J.B.SAY, Manuscrits inédits sur la monnaie, la banque et la finance précédé d'un Essai de biographique sur J.B.Say. By André Tiran
  9. Introduction générale au Œuvres morales et politiques de Jean-Baptiste Say, By André Tiran; Emmanuel Blanc
  10. Centralized or decentralized financing of local governments? Consequences for efficiency and inequality of service provision By Lars-Erik Borge
  11. Rouble papier, rouble or et rouble argent, La dynamique monétaire en Russie au XIX ème siècle entre Prince et marché. By André Tiran

  1. By: Bates, Robert H; Coatsworth, John H; Williamson, Jeffrey G
    Abstract: Africa and Latin America secured their independence from European colonial rule a century and half apart: most of Latin America after 1820 and most of Africa after 1960. Despite the distance in time and space, they share important similarities. In each case independence was followed by political instability, violent conflict and economic stagnation lasting for about a half-century (lost decades). The parallels suggest that Africa might be exiting from a period of post-imperial collapse and entering a period of relative political stability and economic growth, as did Latin America a century and a half earlier.
    Keywords: Africa; development; economic history; Latin America; lost decades
    JEL: N0 O10 O54 O55
    Date: 2006–11
  2. By: Meissner, Christopher M; Taylor, Alan M
    Abstract: Great attention is now being paid to global imbalances, the growing U.S. current account deficit financed by growing surpluses in the rest of the world. How can the issue be understood in a more historical perspective? We seek a meaningful comparison between the two eras of globalization: “then” (the period 1870 to 1913) and “now” (the period since the 1970s). We look at the two hegemons in each era: Britain then, and the United States now. And adducing historical data to match what we know from the contemporary record, we proceed in the tradition of New Comparative Economic History to see what lessons the past might have for the present. We consider two of the most controversial and pressing questions in the current debate. First, are current imbalances being sustained, at least in part, by return differentials? And if so, is this reassuring? Second, how will adjustment take place? Will it be a hard or soft landing? Pessimistically, we find no historical evidence that return differentials last forever, even for hegemons. Optimistically, we find that adjustments to imbalances in the past have generally been smooth, even under a regime as hard as the gold standard.
    Keywords: current account adjustment; exorbitant privilege; global imbalances; return differentials
    JEL: F20 F30 F32 F40 F50 N10 N20
    Date: 2006–11
  3. By: Flandreau, Marc; Galimard, Christophe; Jobst, Clemens; Nogués Marco, Maria Del Pilar
    Abstract: This paper exploits arbitrage conditions for bills of exchange with different maturities to provide new evidence on commercial interest rates in Amsterdam, London, and Paris during the 18th century. The lesson that emerges is that commercial interest rates were very low in all three centers and did not differ much from one location to another. This suggests that a transnational capital market resulting from the Commercial Revolution pre-dated to the British 'Financial Revolution' of the 18th century.
    Keywords: early financial derivative products; financial development; financial integration; interest rates
    JEL: F31 N23
    Date: 2006–11
  4. By: Bohlin, Jan (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University); Larsson, Svante (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: Trends in wage-rental ratios have figured prominently in the recent literature on factor price convergence and globalisation in the late nineteenth century. In that literature Sweden has been described as a free trade country whose wage-rental ratio exhibited a distinguished upward trend before World War I. This article presents a new series of land prices which indicates an increase in land rentals and an evolution of the wage-rental ratio more in line with other European protectionist countries. We explore the determinants of the Swedish wage-rental ratio and assess the relative importance of protectionism and the change in the product mix from arable to animal products in Swedish agriculture. <p>
    Keywords: Economic History; Land prices; wages; wage-rental ratio; protectionism; Sweden
    JEL: F20 N13 N53 O47
    Date: 2006–12–01
  5. By: Bohlin, Jan (Department of Economic History, School of Business, Economics and Law, Göteborg University)
    Abstract: After 1870 Swedish agriculture was transformed in the direction of more animal husbandry. Small farmers in particular specialized in animal produce. Yet, agricultural protectionism primarily served the interest of large landowners specializing in bread-grain production. The paper explores the impact of agrarian tariffs on the factor rewards of landowners, capitalists and workers. Landowners predictably benefited from agrarian tariffs, the more so if they specialized in bread-grain, as did rural workers. With an integrated ruralurban labour market real incomes of urban workers would have come under pressure if agrarian tariffs had been dismantled while capitalists would have been little affected. <p>
    Keywords: Economic History; Protectionism; Trade Policy; Income Distribution; Computable General Equilibrium Model
    JEL: C68 D33 F13 N23 N33 N43
    Date: 2006–12–01
  6. By: Kate Bayliss
    Abstract: This paper is concerned with the micro-level effects of privatisation in South-East Europe, focusing on the experiences of Bosnia Herzegovina and the Republic of Serbia. The republics of the former Yugoslavia were among the first transition economies in Eastern Europe to implement privatisation as far back as 1989, based on the sale of shares to ‘insiders’. However, little was achieved until after the devastating war of the early 1990s, which resulted in both Bosnia Herzegovina and the Republic of Serbia approaching the introduction of revised privatisation programmes in the latter part of the decade from a much weaker economic base. The paper explores the relationship between different privatisation methods and policy outcomes based on a sample of medium-scale industrial enterprises in the two countries for alternative categories of investor. It also considers the effect on the enterprises surveyed of the years of conflict and the break-up of the former Yugoslavia. While there is much shared history, Bosnia Herzegovina and Serbia have had different experiences with privatisation, and the analysis presented in this paper indicates that it is not possible to point to a post-conflict privatisation effect. Rather, outcomes depend on a number of factors including the nature of the programme adopted, the post-war political and institutional framework, the capacity and credibility of the privatisation programme and the wider economic climate.
    Keywords: Privatisation, Serbia, Bosnia Herzegovina, transition economies
    Date: 2005–08
  7. By: Xin Meng (Australian National University and IZA Bonn); Nancy Qian (Brown University)
    Abstract: In the past century, more people have perished from famine than from the two World Wars combined. Many more were exposed to famine and survived. Yet we know almost nothing about the long run impact of famine on these survivors. This paper addresses this question by estimating the effect of childhood exposure to China’s Great Famine on adult health and labor market outcomes of survivors. It resolves two major empirical difficulties: 1) data limitation in measures of famine intensity; and 2) the potential joint determination of famine occurrences and survivors’ outcomes. As a measure of famine intensity, we use regional cohort size of the surviving population in a place and time when there is little migration. We then exploit a novel source of plausibly exogenous variation in famine intensity to estimate the causal effect of childhood exposure to famine on adult health, educational attainment and labor supply. The results show that exposure to famine had significant adverse effects on adult health and work capacity. The magnitude of the effect is negatively correlated with age at the onset of the famine. For example, for those who were one year old at the onset of the famine, exposure on average reduced height by 2.08% (3.34cm), weight by 6.03% (3.38kg), weight-for-height by 4% (0.01 kg/cm), upper arm circumference by 3.95% (0.99cm) and labor supply by 6.93% (3.28 hrs/week). The results also suggest that famine exposure decreased educational attainment by 3% (0.19 years); and that selection for survival decreased withinregion inequality in famine stricken regions.
    Keywords: health, education, famine, China
    JEL: I10 I2 J1
    Date: 2006–11
  8. By: André Tiran (Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - [CNRS : UMR5206][IEP LYON] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: Le présent ouvrage comprend deux parties. La première rassemble des éléments développés de biographie de J.B.SAY. Les documents utlilisés pour rédiger ces pages sont de nature diverses. Il y a tout d'abord les manuscrits de Say déposés à la Bibliothèque Nationale, ensuite les différentes notices biographiques qui doivent être manièes avec précaution car elles comportent de nombreuses erreurs de fait quand elles ne relèvent pas de la fiction totale sur certains points. Les travaux sur l'institutionnalisation de l'Économie politique en France ont permis de montrer ce qu'avait été le rôle de J.B Say dans ce mouvement. Il ne s'agit pas ici d'une véritable biographie qui aurait exigé au préalable le regroupement de l'essentiel de la correspondance de J.B Say. Seule la prise en compte de cette correspondance, dispersée dans des fonds d'archives publiques et privées, permettra de réaliser la biographie à laquelle J.B Say a droit. En attendant qu'un tel travail voit le jour l'intérêt de ces pages qui constituent des éléments pour une biographie est de rassembler des renseignements dispersés dans différents travaux et dans les manuscrits accessibles. <br />La deuxième partie de ces annexes est constituée par des manuscrits inédits de J.B Say sur les questions monétaires, bancaires et sur la valeur. L'intérêt de cette "publication" est de mieux saisir comment Say travaillait, en outre certaines pages apportent des points de vue différents de ceux que l'on connaît à travers l'oeuvre imprimée.
    Keywords: Say biographie, monnaie, libéralisme, loi de Say, crédit, histoire de la pensée
    Date: 2006–12–03
  9. By: André Tiran (Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - [CNRS : UMR5206][IEP LYON] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines]); Emmanuel Blanc (Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - [CNRS : UMR5206][IEP LYON] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: Les textes présentés dans ce volume couvrent une période qui va de 1789 à 1832. De 22 ans à 65 ans, âge auquel il est mort, Jean-Baptiste Say n'a pas cessé de s'intéresser passionnément aux questions politiques de son temps. Il en a été un des acteurs, modeste à ses débuts, puis de plus en plus important, côtoyant les plus grandes figures de la Révolution, du Consulat, de l'Empire et de la Restauration. Cette passion du bien public, il l'a incarnée dans la République et l'a traduite en se portant volontaire dans les armées de la Révolution, puis dans la garde nationale, et par ses écrits. Homme d'action et de réflexion, théoricien et publiciste, il combinera toute sa vie ces différents aspects, s'exprimant tantôt comme journaliste dans la Décade, comme Tribun présentant des rapports sur divers projets de loi sous le Consulat, puis dans la presse libérale sous la Restauration ou comme théoricien dans divers écrits, publiés ou inédits, rassemblés dans ce volume. Les écrits de politique et de morale de Jean-Baptiste Say, qu'il s'agisse des ouvrages imprimés ou des manuscrits inédits, sont des documents peu connus en dehors d'un cercle étroit de spécialistes. Les textes rassemblés dans ce volume permettront d'éclairer un certain nombre d'épisodes importants de l'histoire politique de la France sous le Directoire, le Consulat et la Restauration. <br />Dans le cadre de l'édition des Œuvres complètes, nous n'avons pu, pour des raisons de dimension des volumes, choisir de publier ensemble les œuvres littéraires, morales et politiques comme certaines indications de Say pouvaient nous inviter à le faire. Nous avons pris le parti de regrouper d'un côté tous ses écrits littéraires, publiés ou non, (pièces de théâtre, Nouvelles, Essais sur l'art d'écrire etc.) de l'autre de rassembler tous ses écrits politiques, depuis La liberté de la presse (1789) jusqu'à sa Politique pratique qui accompagnera les dernières années de sa vie. De ce fait, son œuvre morale, dont nous avons du reste peu de fragments, se répartit soit dans le volume des Œuvres littéraires, soit dans celui des Œuvres politiques. Cette répartition n'a pas posé de problèmes majeurs en vertu de la forme plus ou moins littéraire et du type d'analyse mis en œuvre. Le Petit volume, par exemple, parce qu'il se coule dans une forme plus achevée et qu'il présente des réflexions à la fois morales et littéraires, a finalement rejoint le volume des Œuvres littéraires. Pour l'essentiel, les autres analyses morales font partie du manuscrit de la Politique pratique.
    Keywords: Jean-Baptiste Say, utilité, économie, politique, bonaparte, démocratie, bien public
    Date: 2006–12–03
  10. By: Lars-Erik Borge (Department of Economics and Centre for Economic Research, Norwegian University of Science and Technology)
    Abstract: Compared with most countries the Norwegian system of financing local governments is highly centralized. Grants make up a substantial part of revenues and local taxes are highly regulated by the center. The development of the system was motivated by a desire to equalize service provision throughout the country. The purpose of this paper is to analyze possible consequences of more decentralized financing with local tax discretion. Contrary to the conventional wisdom the analysis indicates that decentralized financing is likely to give more equal provision of local public services. In addition, substantial efficiency gains can be obtained.
    Keywords: Centralized financing; Decentralized financing; Tax discretion; Efficiency gains; Equalization
    JEL: D61 H71 H72
    Date: 2006–12–06
  11. By: André Tiran (Triangle : action, discours, pensée politique et économique - [CNRS : UMR5206][IEP LYON] - [Université Lumière - Lyon II] - [Ecole Normale Supérieure Lettres et Sciences Humaines])
    Abstract: L'histoire des faits monétaires en Russie tout au long du XIXe siècle est une histoire tourmentée. Les phases du développement économique sont hachées par les guerres et les crises politiques. Les faits monétaires de cette période illustrent l'attitude du Prince agissant sous contrainte économique . Le rouble a eu ce destin particulier de faire avant la plupart des monnaies des grands États européens les expériences les plus diverses. De Pierre le Grand jusqu'à Lénine, l'histoire du rouble est marquée par des initiatives innovatrices, des tentatives prématurées et avortées ou des désastres inconnus jusque-là à cette échelle. L'histoire de la monnaie en Russie hier, et en URSS aujourd'hui, est liée de façon directe aux problèmes de la puissance politique. La brève étude que nous présentons ici est une tentative de reconstruction de l'histoire des faits monétaires russes au XIXe siècle. Les concepts utilisés pour faire cette relecture de l'histoire des faits monétaires en Russie ont une grande importance. Ils permettent en particulier de mettre en évidence la dynamique existant entre la logique du politique et celle du marché.
    Keywords: Russie, Rouble, Papier-monnaie, marché, banque, pouvoir politique
    Date: 2006–12–03

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