New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2007‒01‒23
nine papers chosen by

  1. The Postwar West German Economic Transition: From Ordoliberalism to Keynesianism By Johannes R. B. Rittershausen
  2. Lending Booms, Underwriting and Competition: The Baring Crisis Revisited By Juan-Huitzi Flores
  3. Diffusion of a Social Norm: Tracing the Emergence of the Housewife in the Netherlands, 1812-1922 By Frans W.A. van Poppel; Hendrik P. van Dalen; Evelien Walhout
  4. Women, wealth and finance.(19th century Italy) By Stefania Licini
  5. Spatial Convergence in Height in East-Central Europe, 1890-1910 By Brabec, Marek; Komlos, John
  6. The U.S. Westward Expansion By Guillaume Vandenbroucke
  7. Questions sur la nature de la monnaie : Charles Rist et Bertrand Nogaro, 1904-1951 By Jérôme Blanc
  8. THE LONG RANGE DYNAMICS OF FINANCIAL CONTROL. The Royal Dramatic Theatre and its costs over a century By Östman, Lars
  9. Striking at the Roots of Crime: The Impact of Social Welfare Spending on Crime During the Great Depression By Ryan S. Johnson; Shawn Kantor; Price V. Fishback

  1. By: Johannes R. B. Rittershausen
    Abstract: The Federal Republic of Germany has experienced a fundamental shift in economic philosophy from Ordoliberalism to Keynesianism. This paper elucidates the main tenets of both schools of thought and their eventual influences on economic policy from 1945 through the late 1960s. West Germany’s transition to Keynesianism follows a relatively cohesive narrative, as the complexities of event history resonate to similar effect in academic and political spheres. By the end of this investigation, intellectual quagmires surrounding economic successes of the postwar period appear as the logical consequences of an academic community that underestimates the importance of normative economic philosophy for policy implementation and society writ large. Reconnecting historical narrative with economic philosophy thus serves in a dual capacity, clarifying a particularly controversial period in economic historiography while also illuminating the underlying problems of our present circumstance.
    Keywords: Economic History, Ordoliberalism, Keynesianism, German Economic Reform
    JEL: B00 B30 B40
    Date: 2007–01
  2. By: Juan-Huitzi Flores
    Abstract: This paper aims to provide new light on a famous episode in financial history, the so called Baring crisis. Taking a microeconomic approach, this paper addresses issues that were not emphasized in traditional explanations of the crisis. We analyze borrowing costs in the 1880s using new data from debt contracts. We argue that, despite a worsening macroeconomic situation in Argentina, its Government continued to have capital market access besides decreasing borrowing costs. This paper suggests that competition between financial intermediaries was a main cause behind the crisis.
    Date: 2007–01
  3. By: Frans W.A. van Poppel (Netherlands Interdisciplinary Demographic Institute); Hendrik P. van Dalen (Erasmus Universiteit Rotterdam); Evelien Walhout (International Institute for Social History)
    Abstract: The emergence of the housewife in the Netherlands over the period 1812-1922 was strongly influenced by the social norm that women should withdraw from the labour market on the eve of marriage. Adherence to this norm is most clearly reflected in the emergence of the housewife among the lower classes, especially at the close of the nineteenth century among wives of farmers. Women in urban municipalities, however, set the norm far earlier and differences across social classes were significantly larger in towns than in rural areas. Paradoxically, the rise of the housewife did not change work pressures for lower–class women. This paradox is resolved by noting that they substituted registered work for unregistered work, e.g., in house industries, working in the family firm or farm.
    Keywords: marriage; norms; division of labour; housewife; breadwinner
    JEL: D13 J12 J16 N34
    Date: 2006–12–04
  4. By: Stefania Licini (Department of Economics, University of Bergamo)
    Abstract: The paper provides some new evidence on the economic role and position of women in nineteenth century Italy, especially pointing out their financial resources and choices. In 1865, the introduction of a new civil code in the Italian Kingdom corroborated women’s dependence from men. Wives needed their husband’s authorization both to handle autonomously their own property and entering in trade. Women on the whole were hindered to practise liberal professions and they had no free access to secondary schools. However, as equitable inheritance was stated and sons and daughters had acquired -more or less- the same rights on their parents’ property, women’s proprietorship was not occasional nor trifling at the time. The share of wealth detained by women is the first question the paper focus on. Then attention turns to the financial assets held by women: inferences on their investment behaviour are drawn and compared with that of men. Some considerations on women’s function in the credit market finally follow. The research is based on fiscal sources, estate and income tax returns. More precisely, all the papers recorded at the Registar Office of Milan in the period 1862-1900 have been taken into account and a data base including personal information and gross amount of the estate has been built. Besides, a list of taxpayers published by the Ministry of Finance in 1872 has been considered and analysed. The figures resulting from the elaboration of the available information show, on one hand, the expected high degree of gender inequality, on the other hand, the significant weight of female wealth. On the whole the value of women’s property is re-evaluated and the significance of women financial activity is , also with regard to Italy, assessed.
    Date: 2006–11
  5. By: Brabec, Marek; Komlos, John
    Abstract: We examine spatial convergence in biological well-being in the Habsburg Monarchy circa 1890-1910 on the basis of evidence on the physical stature of 21-year-old recruits disaggregated into 15 districts. We find that the shorter was the population in 1890 the faster its height grew thereafter. Hence, there was convergence in physical stature between the peripheral areas of the monarchy (located in today's Poland/Ukraine, Romania, and Slovakia) and the core (located in today's Austria, Czech Republic, and Hungary). The difference between the trend in the height of the Polish district of Przemysl and the Viennese trend was about 0.9 cm per decade in favor of the former. But the convergence among the core districts themselves was minimal or non-existent, whereas the convergence among the peripheral districts was more pronounced. Hence, spatial convergence took place exclusively within the peripheral areas, and between the peripheral regions and the more developed ones. The pattern is somewhat reminiscent of modern findings on convergence clubs in the global economy. However, the East-Central European pattern was the reverse of this modern finding: heights converged to the levels of the developed regions, but did not converge among the more developed regions themselves.
    Keywords: spatial convergence; inequality; physical stature; economic growth; biological standard of living; Habsburg Monarchy; anthropometric history
    JEL: D63 I10 J10 N13 N93
    Date: 2007–01
  6. By: Guillaume Vandenbroucke (Department of Economics, University of Southern California)
    Abstract: The U.S. economic development in the nineteenth century was characterized by the westward movement of population and the accumulation of productive land in the West. This paper presents a model of migration and land improvement to identify the quantitatively important forces driving this phenomena. Two forces are key: the decrease in transportation costs induced the westward migration, while population growth was responsible for the investment in productive land.
    Keywords: Westward Expansion, Land-improvement, Migration
    JEL: E1 J1 O1
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: Jérôme Blanc (LEFI - Laboratoire d'économie de la firme et des institutions - [Université Lumière - Lyon II])
    Abstract: Ce texte interroge deux économistes français de la première moitié du XXe siècle, Bertrand Nogaro (1880-1950) et Charles Rist (1873-1956), sur la nature de la monnaie. Ce demi-siècle est marqué par une “ révolution nominaliste ” dont Keynes n'est que l'un des promoteurs. Certains textes de Nogaro et de Rist peuvent être lus comme représentatifs de la lutte qui se livre alors entre nominalisme et métallisme. Si leurs écrits monétaires s'échelonnent de 1904 à 1951, leur réflexion prend leur pleine puissance dans les années vingt et trente. Il s'agit ici de discuter de quel nominalisme Bertrand Nogaro se fait l'avocat et sur quel métallisme Charles Rist fonde son analyse monétaire, en mettant tous deux au regard l'un de l'autre. Nogaro développe une vision nominaliste dès 1908, tandis que Rist, en dépit d'un changement en 1945, demeure sur une position métalliste de plus en plus intenable théoriquement, bien que séduisante au plan normatif. Nogaro demeure, de son côté, peu disert quant aux solutions à apporter à la question de la stabilité nécessaire du pouvoir d'achat de la monnaie. Lorsqu'il publie ses thèses sous forme d'ouvrage, le nominalisme triomphe déjà.
    Keywords: Histoire de la pensée économique;nature de la monnaie;Rist;Nogaro;nominalisme;métallisme
    Date: 2007–01–03
  8. By: Östman, Lars (Dept. of Business Administration, Stockholm School of Economics)
    Abstract: In September 2006, the book Lysande ögonblick och finansiella kriser (Splendid Moments and Financial Crises) was published. In large part, it is a narrative about the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm during the 20th century: about actors, productions, attendance, relations to the audience, critics´ views and physical resources, dealing especially with financial processes and their importance. It is a systematic description of a long chain of events and situations, manager by manager. In the paper below, there is a summary of the theatre´s story from an economic point of view. Of course, this story is unique in several respects but many classical control issues and general tendencies are also present. Thus, the description of this specific case is the vehicle for discussing financial control mechanisms of overall importance. In particular, the issue of time as a vital variable is addressed. The analysis pinpoints specific events, but also the contexts over time to which they belong. It emphasizes that the resource issue for an organisation involves a dynamic problem; that is the underlying character even if it appears in the form of financial crises on certain occasions. It also demonstrates a long-range interaction between outer and inner processes and, moreover, conflicts of interests.
    Keywords: financial control; management control; long-term control; long-range cost structure; corporate governance; vertical control; horizontal control; short-term effects; strategic re-orientation; financial crisis; theatre; the Royal Dramatic Theatre; cultural economics
    Date: 2007–01–11
  9. By: Ryan S. Johnson; Shawn Kantor; Price V. Fishback
    Abstract: The Great Depression of the 1930s led to dire circumstances for a large share of American households. Contemporaries worried that a number of these households would commit property crimes in their efforts to survive the hard times. The Roosevelt administration suggested that their unprecedented and massive relief efforts struck at the roots of crime by providing subsistence income to needy families. After constructing a panel data set for 83 large American cities for the years 1930 through 1940, we estimated the impact of relief spending by all levels of government on crime rates. The analysis suggests that relief spending during the 1930s lowered property crime in a statistically and economically significant way. A lower bound ordinary least squares estimate suggests that a 10 percent increase in per capita relief spending during the Great Depression lowered property crime rates by close to 1 percent. After controlling for potential endogeneity using an instrumental variables approach, the estimates suggest that a 10 percent increase in per capita relief spending lowered crime rates by roughly 5.6 to 10 percent at the margin. More generally, our results indicate that social insurance, which tends to be understudied in economic analyses of crime, should be more explicitly and more carefully incorporated into the analysis of temporal and spatial variations in criminal activity.
    JEL: H53 I38 K4 N31 N41
    Date: 2007–01

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