nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2007‒11‒03
thirteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. How Prosperous were the Romans? Evidence from Diocletian's Price Edict (301 AD) By Robert C. Allen
  2. What Determines Top Income Shares? Evidence from the Twentieth Century By Roine, Jesper; Vlachos, Jonas; Waldenström, Daniel
  3. The Impact of Milton Friedman on Modern Monetary Economics: Setting the Record Straight on Paul Krugman's "Who Was Milton Friedman?" By Edward Nelson; Anna J. Schwartz
  4. Towards an understanding of the phases of goodwill accounting in four Western capitalist countries: From stakeholder model to shareholder model By Ding, Yuan; Stolowy, Hervé; Richard, Jacques
  5. Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden, 1873–2005 By Roine, Jesper; Waldenström, Daniel
  6. Wealth Concentration over the Path of Development: Sweden 1873–2005 By Roine, Jesper; Waldenström, Daniel
  7. Financial Dependence and Firm Survival in Interwar Britain By David Chambers
  8. Immigration and Crime in Early 20th Century America By Carolyn Moehling; Anne Morrison Piehl
  9. Some Issues in the Calculation of Batting Averages: Ranking (and Re-Ranking) the Top 50 Batsmen in Test Cricket, 1877-2006 By Vani K. Borooah; John Mangan
  10. Rent Seeking and the Unveiling of 'De Facto' Institutions: Development and Colonial Heritage within Brazil By Joana Naritomi; Rodrigo R. Soares; Juliano J. Assunção
  11. Development Aid and International Politics: Does membership on the UN Security Council influence World Bank decisions? By Axel Dreher; Jan-Egbert Sturm; James Raymond Vreeland
  12. Regime Shift in Antitrust By Ghosal, Vivek
  13. Function law in agrarian policies: Mexico 1990-2005 By Acosta Reveles, Irma Lorena

  1. By: Robert C. Allen
    Abstract: The paper compares the standard of living of labourers in the Roman Empire in 301 AD with the standard of living of labourers in Europe and Asia from the middle ages to the industrial revolution. Roman data are drawn from Diocletian`s Price Edict. The real wage of Roman workers was like that of their counterparts in the lagging parts of Europe and much of Asia in the middle of the eighteenth century. Roman workers earned just enough to buy a minimal subsistence consumption basket. Real wages were considerably higher in the advanced parts of Europe in the eighteenth century, as they had been in Europe generally following the Black Death in 1348-9.
    Keywords: Standard of Living, Real Wage, Roman Empire, Long Run Economic Growth
    JEL: J31 N30 O47
    Date: 2007
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:oxf:wpaper:363&r=his
  2. By: Roine, Jesper (Stockholm School of Economics); Vlachos, Jonas (Stockholm University); Waldenström, Daniel (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: This paper examines the long-run determinants of the evolution of top income shares. Using a newly assembled panel of 16 developed countries over the entire twentieth century, we find that financial development disproportionately boosts top incomes. This effect appears to be particularly strong during the early stages of a country’s development. Economic growth is strongly pro-rich which is inconsistent with globalized labor markets determining the incomes of elites. Furthermore, international trade is not associated with increases in top incomes on average, but is so in Anglo-Saxon countries. Finally, tax progressivity has a significant negative effect on top income shares whereas government spending has no such clear impact on inequality.
    Keywords: Top incomes; Income inequality; Financial development; Trade openness; Government spending; Economic development
    JEL: D31 F10 G10 N30
    Date: 2007–10–16
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0721&r=his
  3. By: Edward Nelson; Anna J. Schwartz
    Abstract: Paul Krugman's essay "Who Was Milton Friedman?" seriously mischaracterizes Friedman's economics and his legacy. In this paper we provide a rejoinder to Krugman on these issues. In the course of setting the record straight, we provide a self-contained guide to Milton Friedman's impact on modern monetary economics and on today's central banks. We also refute the conclusions that Krugman draws about monetary policy from the experiences of the United States in the 1930s and of Japan in the 1990s.
    JEL: E31 E51 E58
    Date: 2007–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13546&r=his
  4. By: Ding, Yuan; Stolowy, Hervé; Richard, Jacques
    Abstract: The objective of this paper is to illustrate that the change in shareholders’ attitude towards firms (from stakeholder model to shareholder model) influences the accounting treatments of goodwill. This study is based on four countries (Great Britain, the United States, Germany, and France) and covers more than a century, starting in 1880. The authors explain that all these countries have gone through four identified phases of goodwill accounting, classified as (1) “static”(immediate or rapid expensing), (2) “weakened static” (write-off against equity), (3) “dynamic” (recognition with amortization over a long period) and (4) “actuarial” (recognition without amortization but with impairment if necessary).
    Keywords: Goodwill – Accounting history – Social nature of accounting – Stakeholder/shareholder models – Corporate governance; France; Germany; Great Britain; United States
    JEL: M41
    Date: 2007–10–25
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:ebg:heccah:0872&r=his
  5. By: Roine, Jesper (Stockholm School of Economics); Waldenström, Daniel (Research Institute of Industrial Economics (IFN))
    Abstract: We study the development of wealth concentration in Sweden over 130 years, from the beginning of industrialization until present day. Our series are based on a wide array of new evidence from estate- and wealth tax data, estimates of foreign and domestic family firm-wealth and of pension and social security wealth. We find that the Swedish wealth concentration was at a historically high level in the agrarian state and that it did not change much during early industrialization. From World War I up until about 1950, the richest percentile lost ground to the rest of the top wealth decile where relatively income rich households accumulated new wealth. In the postwar period, the entire top decile lost out relative to the rest of the population, much due to the spread of owner-occupied housing. Around 1980, wealth compression stopped and inequality increased. We introduce new ways of approximating the effects of international flows and find that the recent increase in Swedish wealth inequality is likely to be larger than what official estimates suggest.
    Keywords: Wealth concentration; Wealth distribution; Inequality; Income distribution; Sweden; Welfare state; Pension wealth; Augmented wealth
    JEL: D14 D31 N33 N34
    Date: 2007–10–16
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:iuiwop:0722&r=his
  6. By: Roine, Jesper (SITE); Waldenström, Daniel (IFN)
    Abstract: We study the development of wealth concentration in Sweden over 130 years, from the begin-ning of industrialization until present day. Our series are based on a wide array of new evi-dence from estate- and wealth tax data, estimates of foreign and domestic family firm-wealth and of pension and social security wealth. We find that the Swedish wealth concentration was at a historically high level in the agrarian state and that it did not change much during early in-dustrialization. From World War I up until about 1950, the richest percentile lost ground to the rest of the top wealth decile where relatively income rich households accumulated new wealth. In the postwar period, the entire top decile lost out relative to the rest of the population, much due to the spread of owner-occupied housing. Around 1980, wealth compression stopped and inequality increased. We introduce new ways of approximating the effects of international flows and find that the recent increase in Swedish wealth inequality is likely to be larger than what official estimates suggest.
    Keywords: Wealth concentration; Wealth distribution; Inequality; Income distribution; Sweden; Welfare state; Pension wealth; Augmented wealth
    JEL: D14 D31 N33 N34
    Date: 2007–10–15
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:hhs:hastef:0677&r=his
  7. By: David Chambers
    Abstract: Was the London Stock Exchange (LSE) little more than a Dickensian den of speculation, or did it make a contribution to industrial development in interwar Britain? The interwar stock market laboured under problems of weak disclosure, inadequate investor protection and ineffective underwriting. New manufacturing industries were the most vulnerable to resulting asymmetric information problems. Drawing on a new database of IPOs on the London Stock Exchange between 1919 and 1938, I conclude that new manufacturing firms were finance-constrained. Consistent with the Rajan-Zingales financial dependence hypothesis, this result reflects the weak interwar institutional environment. The disastrous IPO survival rates of the late 1920s provide further evidence of this weak environment. Yet, when issue activity rebounded strongly in the following decade, a dramatic improvement in survival ensued, due, in part, to the efforts of the LSE. This was an early example of the "light touch" regulatory approach for which London has subsequently become renowned.
    Keywords: IPOs, Survival, Regulation, Investment
    JEL: G3 G24 N2 L26
    Date: 2007
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:oxf:wpaper:360&r=his
  8. By: Carolyn Moehling (Rutgers University, NBER); Anne Morrison Piehl (Rutgers University, NBER)
    Abstract: Research on crime in the late 20th century has consistently shown, that despite the public rhetoric, immigrants have lower rates of involvement in criminal activity than natives. The earliest studies of immigration and crime conducted at the beginning of the 20th century produced similar conclusions. We show, however, that the empirical findings of these early studies suffer from a form of aggregation bias due to the very different age distributions of the native and immigrant populations. We find that in 1904 prison commitment rates for more serious crimes were quite similar for the two nativity groups for all ages except ages 18 and 19 when the commitment rate for immigrants was higher than for the native born. By 1930, immigrants were less likely than natives to be committed to state and federal prisons at all ages 20 and older. But this advantage disappears when one looks at commitments for violent offenses. Immigrants in their late teens, in fact, were more likely than their native counterparts to be incarcerated for violent offenses.
    Keywords: immigration, crime, prison
    JEL: J1 K4 N3
    Date: 2007–08–03
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:rut:rutres:200704&r=his
  9. By: Vani K. Borooah; John Mangan (School of Economics, The University of Queensland)
    Abstract: Batsmen in cricket are invariably ranked according to their batting average. Such a ranking suffers from two defects. First, it does not take into account the consistency of scores across innings: a batsman might have a high career average but with low scores interspersed with high scores; another might have a lower average but with much less variation in his scores. Second, it pays no attention to the “value” of the player’s runs to the team: arguably, a century, when the total score is 600, has less value compared to a half-century in an innings total of, say, 200. The purpose of this paper is to suggest new ways of computing batting averages which, by addressing these deficiencies, complement the existing method and present a more complete picture of batsmen’s performance. Based on these “new” averages, the paper offers a “new” ranking of the top 50 batsmen in the history of Test Cricket.
    Date: 2007
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:qld:uq2004:351&r=his
  10. By: Joana Naritomi; Rodrigo R. Soares; Juliano J. Assunção
    Abstract: This paper analyzes the roots of variation in de facto institutions, within a constant de jure institutional setting. We explore the role of rent-seeking episodes in colonial Brazil as determinants of the quality of current local institutions, and argue that this variation reveals a de facto dimension of institutional quality. We show that municipalities with origins tracing back to the sugar-cane colonial cycle -- characterized by a polarized and oligarchic socioeconomic structure -- display today more inequality in the distribution of land. Municipalities with origins tracing back to the gold colonial cycle -- characterized by an over-bureaucratic and heavily intervening presence of the Portuguese state -- display today worse governance practices and less access to justice. The colonial rent-seeking episodes are also correlated with lower provision of public goods and lower income per capita today, and the latter correlation seems to work partly through worse institutional quality at the local level.
    JEL: N26 O17 O40 P14 P28
    Date: 2007–10
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:nbr:nberwo:13545&r=his
  11. By: Axel Dreher (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich); Jan-Egbert Sturm (KOF Swiss Economic Institute, ETH Zurich); James Raymond Vreeland (Yale University, Department of Political Science, USA)
    Abstract: We investigate whether temporary members of the UN Security Council receive favorable treatment from the World Bank, using panel data for 157 countries over the period 1970-2004. Our results indicate a robust positive relationship between temporary UN Security Council membership and the number of World Bank projects a country receives, even after accounting for economic and political factors, as well as regional and country effects. The size of World Bank loans, however, is not affected by UN Security Council membership.
    Keywords: World Bank, UN Security Council, Voting, Aid
    JEL: O19 O11 F35
    Date: 2007–07
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:kof:wpskof:07-171&r=his
  12. By: Ghosal, Vivek
    Abstract: This paper empirically models the longer-run deep-seated shift in intellectual thinking that followed the Chicago School’s criticism of the older antitrust doctrine, the shorter-run driving forces related to switches of the political party in power, merger waves, changes in economic activity and the level of funding and quantifies their impact on enforcement by the Antitrust Division of the U.S. Department of Justice over the period 1958-2002. The key findings are: (1) a distinct regime-shift in antitrust enforcement during the 1970s and, post-regime-shift, there has been a marked compositional change with a quantitatively large increase (decrease) in criminal (civil) antitrust court cases initiated; (2) post-regime-shift, there appears to be a change in the role played by politics with Republicans initiating more (less) criminal (civil) court cases than Democrats and the estimated quantitative effects are large; (3) disaggregating the total number of court cases into the main categories under which they are initiated (price-fixing, mergers, monopolization and restraints-of-trade) shows that individual types of cases have widely differing responses to changes in the driving forces; and (4) in a horse-race between the regime-shift and political effect on one side and the remaining variables on the other, the former forces win hands-down in explaining broad shifts in enforcement. Modeling the longer-run shift and disaggregating the court cases emerge as crucial to gaining insights into the intertemporal shifts in enforcement. The paper elaborates on the causes for the shift in enforcement and on the effectiveness of antitrust.
    Keywords: Antitrust enforcement; regime-shift; politics; supreme court; effectiveness.
    JEL: L40 B00 K00 M20
    Date: 2007–02
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:5460&r=his
  13. By: Acosta Reveles, Irma Lorena
    Abstract: In support of public policy, the law anticipates Government projects so as to pave the way for them, or is adjusted along the way in order to adapt the institutional framework to the processes which in fact prevail. A typical case is that of Mexican Agrarian legislation in the late 20th and early 21st centuries. We propose here that recent developments in Agrarian legislation reveal the limitations of the modernizing strategy of the 1990s, which resulted in a call for the rural population to enter into alternative economic activities, as agriculture ceases to be the way of life for numerous families. We conclude that the restructuring of agricultural production in Mexico has excluded the productive and social dimensions. The reformulation of agrarian legal discourse demonstrates the structural limitations of advancement in terms of the agribusiness model. Now the sector’s economic policy priorities of growth and yield shift towards the instruments of social policy related to territorial construction.
    Keywords: Law; agrarian policies; neoliberalism; rural development; Mexico
    JEL: Q10 A14 R10 K00
    Date: 2007
    URL: http://d.repec.org/n?u=RePEc:pra:mprapa:5392&r=his

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