nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2007‒03‒10
twelve papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. Searching for the roots of retardation : Spain in European perspective, 1500-1850 By Carlos Alvarez Nogal; Leandro Prado de la Escosura
  2. Entrepreneurial Structure of the Mercantile Company in Pre-industrial Catalonia By Lídia Torra
  3. The First World War and coal trade geography in Latin America and the Caribbean (1890-1930) By Anna Carreras Marin; Marc Badia Miro
  4. International inequality and polarization in living standards, 1870-2000 : evidence from the Western World By Leandro Prados de la Escosura
  5. The Great Inflation and Early Disinflation in Japan and Germany By Nelson, Edward
  6. The Long-Term Consequences of Regional Specialization By Michaels, Guy
  7. Quantifying Quantitative Literacy: Age Heaping and the History of Human Capital By Brian A'Hearn; Jörg Baten; Dorothee Crayen
  8. National, European and Community Patent Protection: Time for Reconsideration By Hanns Ullrich
  9. The Establishment and Development of Cambridge Environmental Economic Thought By Masayuki Omori
  10. Le processus des ratifications du traité établissant une Constitution pour l’Europe et la période de réflexion By Jacques Ziller
  12. Econometrics: A Bird’s Eye View By John Geweke; Joel Horowitz; M. Hashem Pesaran

  1. By: Carlos Alvarez Nogal; Leandro Prado de la Escosura
    Abstract: This paper investigates when did retardation begin in Spain and examines the evidence on economic performance over three centuries. In contrast to earlier estimates that focus almost exclusively on Castilian agriculture we look at trends in urbanization as a measure of economic activity outside agriculture and construct new measures of agricultural and total output at regional and national levels. We find distinctive long-run behaviour across Spanish regions that reject the identification between Castile and Spain. We also provide new output estimates for six Western European countries that allow placing Spanish performance in comparative perspective. Two main findings are highlighted. At the time of her imperial expansion Spain appears to have a relatively affluent nation and, by the late sixteenth century, her income per head was only below the Low Countries’ and Italy’s. The roots of Spanish retardation lie in the seventeenth century and deepened during the early nineteenth century.
    Date: 2007–03
  2. By: Lídia Torra
    Abstract: The mercantile company was the basic form of enterprise in pre-industrial Catalonia. The aim of this paper is to study the formation and development of the mercantile companies in Barcelona whose end was the wholesale and retail sale of textiles in the “botigues de teles” (textile retail shops) throughout the eighteenth century. These firms were officially registered before a notary and their deeds reveal how these establishments were administered and managed. The study covers a sample of 121 mercantile companies, and the articles and documentation that were put into effect by 32 notaries who were active in Barcelona in the 18th century have been consulted in their entirety. From an initial selection of documentation, a total of 228 deeds registering companies have been found, 107 of which (47%) relate to the creation of companies whose various activities were centred in taverns, textile manufacturing, braiding.... While the 121 companies, which make up our sample and which account for 53% of the deeds registered with the notaries mentioned above, focused exclusively on the management of textile retail shops located in the commercial heart of the city. Thus one point of interest that the documentation reveals is that the majority of the mercantile companies registered by Barcelona notaries throughout the 18th century were establishments which traded in textiles. The first part of the article focuses on the structural characteristics of these enterprises, the number and socio-professional status of the partners and the extent of each partner’s involvement in the administration and management. The second part of the article examines the capital investment made by each partner, their rights and obligations agreed on, the sharing out of profits and possible losses and the duration of the companies. The final aim of the paper is to highlight the evolution of these companies through one specific case.
    Keywords: Mercantile company, trade, textile retail shops, Catalonia
    JEL: N83
    Date: 2006–11
  3. By: Anna Carreras Marin; Marc Badia Miro (Universitat de Barcelona)
    Abstract: This paper aims to illustrate the dynamics of coal trade between Latin America and its main trade partners, i.e. the USA, Great Britain and Germany, before and after the enormous disruption caused by the First World War. The coal trade was used as an indicator of modernization for Latin American countries, given that oil was at that time of secondary importance. Energy imports have determined the possibilities of each Latin American country in its process of development. Here we address this question and place special emphasis on supply channels, concluding that the trade link with main suppliers was of key significance. Although this was very clear by the end of the period, the process had started well before the First World War, at least for the majority of LA&C countries. These points are developed through a gravity model applied to the bilateral coal trade. The importance of the market supplier share is addressed through cluster methodologies.
    Keywords: coal trade, latin american and caribbean trade, economic geography, economic trade dependency
    JEL: N76 F19 N16
    Date: 2007
  4. By: Leandro Prados de la Escosura
    Abstract: A long-run view of inter-country inequality in living standards is provided for a large sample of countries in Western Europe, the European Offshoots, Japan – OECD, for short- and Latin America. A long term rise in real per capita income inequality is found. The deepening gap between OECD and Latin America was the major factor beneath this increase. Inequality in non-economic indicators of well-being (longevity, education, and human development) fell in the long run but a gap between OECD and Latin America remained by 2000. Polarization took place in the Western World during the second half of the twentieth century.
    Date: 2007–02
  5. By: Nelson, Edward
    Abstract: This paper considers the Great Inflation of the 1970s in Japan and Germany. From 1975 onward these countries had low inflation relative to other large economies. Traditionally, this success is attributed to stronger discipline on the part of Japan and Germany’s monetary authorities - for example, more willingness to accept temporary unemployment, or stronger determination not to monetize government deficits. I instead attribute the success of these countries from the mid-1970s to their governments’ and monetary authorities’ acceptance that inflation is a monetary phenomenon. Their higher inflation in the first half of the 1970s is attributable to the fact that their policymakers over this period embraced non-monetary theories of inflation.
    Keywords: Germany; Great Inflation; incomes policy; Japan; monetary targeting
    JEL: E52 E58 E64 E65
    Date: 2007–03
  6. By: Michaels, Guy
    Abstract: What are the consequences of resource-based regional specialization, when it persists over a long period of time? While much of the literature argues that specialization is beneficial, recent work suggests it may be costly in the long run, due to economic or political reasons. I examine this question empirically, using exogenous geological variation in the location of subsurface oil in the Southern United States. I find that oil abundant counties are highly specialized: for many decades their mining sector was almost as large as their entire manufacturing sector. During the 1940s and 1950s, oil abundant counties enjoyed per capita income that was 20-30 percent higher than other nearby counties, and their workforce was better educated. But whereas in 1940 oil production crowded out agriculture, over the next 50 years it caused the oil abundant counties to develop a smaller manufacturing sector. This led to slower accumulation of human capital in the oil abundant counties, and to a narrowing of per capita income differentials to about 5 percentage points. Despite this caveat, the gains from specialization were large, and specialization had little impact on the fraction of total income spent by local government or on income inequality.
    Keywords: growth; human capital; petroleum; specialization
    JEL: J24 O18 O33 Q33 R11
    Date: 2006–12
  7. By: Brian A'Hearn; Jörg Baten; Dorothee Crayen
    Abstract: Age data frequently display excess frequencies at round or attractive ages, such as even numbers and multiples of five. This phenomenon of age heaping has been viewed as a problem in previous research, especially in demography and epidemiology. We see it as an opportunity and propose its use as a measure of human capital that can yield comparable estimates across a wide range of historical contexts. A simulation study yields methodological guidelines for measuring and interpreting differences in age heaping, while analysis of contemporary and historical datasets demonstrates the existence of a robust correlation between age heaping and literacy at both the individual and aggregate level. To illustrate the method, we generate estimates of human capital in Europe over the very long run, which support the hypothesis of a major increase in human capital preceding the industrial revolution.
    Keywords: Human Capital, Age Heaping, Growth, Industrial Revolution, Numeracy
    JEL: I21 N01 N30
    Date: 2006–11
  8. By: Hanns Ullrich
    Abstract: The completion of a Community system of unitary intellectual property protection has come to a halt when the Commission’s proposal for a Community Patent Regulation was shelved by the Council on political grounds in late 2004. By contrast, under the auspices of the European Patent Organization a draft European Patent Litigation Agreement has been set up with a view to have it adopted by those Contracting States of the European Patent Convention ( EPC ), which would volunteer for it. Given that conceptually both the Community patent project and the European Patent Convention date back to the mid of the last century, and that due to economic and technological change there is a good case to be made for a broad reform effort, it is proposed to benefit from the present crisis of unification of patent law by undertaking a review of the entire system with a view to establish a fundamentally modernized system of protection. This should include the recognition of the role national patents have to play in an integrated system of patent protection in Europe.
    Keywords: European law; economic law; RTD policy; international agreements; Single Market
    Date: 2006–12–01
  9. By: Masayuki Omori (Meiji University, Japan)
    Abstract: In this paper we try to make clear that the original utilitarian economic thought of J. S. Mill, which was like a headwater, ran to Cambridge University, after which his followers could tackle environmental problems of their days from an economic point of view (1). First of all we refer to the utilitarian background of Mill’s theoretical suggestions in his Political Economy and his political activities in the Commons Preservation Society (CPS) and the Land Tenure Reform Association (LTRA) (section 2). Next we introduce two of Mill’s disciples of Cambridge insiders, the economist Fawcett and the moral philosopher Sidgwick, and discuss their theoretical and practical succession to Mill’s thought (section 3). Likewise two Cambridge outsiders, the critic Ruskin and the economic theorist Jevons, criticized Mill’s orthodoxy and influenced new Cambridge insiders. We describe these two outsiders (section 4) and identify one insider, Marshall, who established the foundation of today’s Environmental Economics (section 5). Then we mention his disciple, another insider, Pigou, who developed this study (section 6). Lastly, we discuss methodological criticism of Cambridge Environmental Economic Thought (CEET) and suggest other streams to establish and develop Environmental Economics (section 7).
    Keywords: Development; thought; establishment; philosophy; Waste management; Recycling; Composting, Choice experiment; Preference heterogeneity
    Date: 2006
  10. By: Jacques Ziller
    Abstract: The paper examines the process of ratification of the Treaty establishing a Constitution for Europe in the member states of the European Union, from the date of its signature in Rome on 29 October 2004 to the European Council of June 2006 which decided to prolong the period of reflection for two further years. It first analyses the constitutional constraints which have to be observed in the member states, distinguishing between ratification according to ordinary legislative procedure and according to a special procedure, the possibility to chose between a parliamentary authorisation or a referendum, the possibility of judicial review of the constitutionality of ratification and the powers of the Head of State. It then examines more deeply the different procedures followed for the authorisation of ratification, the referenda which took place or were foreseen and the delays in ratification, as well as the decisions of constitutional courts and the constitutional amendments adopted in view of ratification of the Constitution for Europe. The paper concludes with an appraisal of the so-called period of reflection and the reactions in member states
    Keywords: treaty reform; referendum; Constitution for Europe
    Date: 2006–10–01
  11. By: Fabio Sánchez; María Del Mar Palau
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to determine the variables that explain the geographical expansion and armed activity of Colombian irregular groups since the mid seventies, taking into account the role of the political, fiscal and budgetary decentralization and its effects over local governance. This period of Colombian history (1974-2004) has been graved by strong economic, social and institutional changes that have deepened particularly since the decentralization process of the mid eighties. In fact, this paper states that decentralization process transformed the conflict into a dispute over the local power, intensifying the use of violence in order to appropriate part of the public goods and resources, interfere the political process and consolidate the group’s territorial control. The analysis of the illegal group’s early activity (1974-1982) shows that the use of violence is explained by grievances such as poverty or inequality. However, subsequent years reveal deep changes in the illegal group’s strategic procedures in which the decentralization process have given them incentives to control the local governments by using violence (greed). The results demonstrate a strong and significant relationship between the intensification of the armed conflict and the greater political, budgetary and fiscal autonomy of local governments. In fact, the presence of local resources such as royalties and taxes triggers violence against politicians being more intense in the municipalities where the actions of the illegal groups are higher.
    Date: 2006–05–10
  12. By: John Geweke; Joel Horowitz; M. Hashem Pesaran
    Abstract: As a unified discipline, econometrics is still relatively young and has been transforming and expanding very rapidly over the past few decades. Major advances have taken place in the analysis of cross sectional data by means of semi-parametric and non-parametric techniques. Heterogeneity of economic relations across individuals, firms and industries is increasingly acknowledged and attempts have been made to take them into account either by integrating out their effects or by modeling the sources of heterogeneity when suitable panel data exists. The counterfactual considerations that underlie policy analysis and treatment evaluation have been given a more satisfactory foundation. New time series econometric techniques have been developed and employed extensively in the areas of macroeconometrics and finance. Non-linear econometric techniques are used increasingly in the analysis of cross section and time series observations. Applications of Bayesian techniques to econometric problems have been given new impetus largely thanks to advances in computer power and computational techniques. The use of Bayesian techniques have in turn provided the investigators with a unifying framework where the tasks of forecasting, decision making, model evaluation and learning can be considered as parts of the same interactive and iterative process; thus paving the way for establishing the foundation of “real time econometrics”. This paper attempts to provide an overview of some of these developments.
    Keywords: History of econometrics, Microeconometrics, Macroeconometrics, Bayesian Econometrics, Nonparametric and Semi-parametric Analysis
    JEL: C1 C2 C3 C4 C5
    Date: 2006–11

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