nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒02‒14
fifteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. American Education in the Age of Mass Migrations 1870-1930 By Murtin, Fabrice; Viarengo, Martina
  2. Mass Production, Economic Growth and Social Justice: Historical Lessons for Russia By Viktorov, Ilja
  3. Italian investment and merchant banking up to 1914: Hybridising international models and practices By Carlo Brambilla; Giandomenico Piluso
  4. An Archival Case Study: Revisiting The Life and Political Economy of Lauchlin Currie By Roger Sandilands
  5. The 1990’s financial crises in Nordic countries By Honkapohja, Seppo
  6. The Phillips Curve and the Italian Lira, 1861-1998 By Alessandro Del Boca; Michele Fratianni; Franco Spinelli; Carmine Trecroci
  7. The Labor Market of Italian Politicians By Antonio Merlo; Vincenzo Galasso; Massimiliano Landi; Andrea Mattozzi
  8. Keeping up with revolutions: evolution of higher education in Uzbekist an By Majidov, Toshtemir; Ghosh, Dipak; Ruziev, Kobil
  9. Money, Crises, and Transition Essays in Honor of Guillermo A. Calvo: An Introduction By Reinhart, Carmen; Vegh, Carlos; Velasco, Andres
  10. The Evolutionary Chain of International Financial Centers By Michele Fratianni
  11. Lessons from the Laureates By Breit, William; Hirsch, Barry
  12. Hawtreyan 'Credit Deadlock' or Keynesian 'Liquidity Trap'? Lessons for Japan from the Great Depression By Roger Sandilands
  13. Canada and the IMF: Trailblazer or Prodigal Son? By Michael Bordo; Tamara Gomes; Lawrence Schembri
  14. The End of Peasantries? Rethinking the Role of Peasantries in a World-Historical View By Vanhaute, Eric

  1. By: Murtin, Fabrice (Stanford University); Viarengo, Martina (CEP, London School of Economics)
    Abstract: This paper derives original series of average years of schooling in the United States 1870-1930, which take into account the impact of mass migrations on the US educational level. We reconstruct the foreign-born US population by age and by country of origin, while combining data on the flow of migrants by country and the age pyramids of migrants by country. Then we use original data on educational attainment in the nineteenth century presented in Morrisson and Murtin (2008) in order to estimate the educational level of US immigrants by age and by country. As a result, our series are consistent with the first national estimates of average schooling in 1940. We show that mass migrations have had a significant but modest impact on the US average educational attainment. However, the educational gap between US natives and immigrants was large and increased with the second immigration wave, a phenomenon that most likely fostered the implementation of restrictive immigration rules in the 1920s.
    Keywords: economic history, migrations, education, economic development research
    JEL: I2 J24 N70 O1
    Date: 2009–01
  2. By: Viktorov, Ilja (Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper examines the impact of mass production on economic development in the United States and Sweden between the 1930s and early 1970s. It suggests that the historical experience in both countries can be used to illustrate a possible pathway for promoting progressive development of the Russian economy. The article discusses the conditions under which mass production can promote economic growth combined with social justice in post-Soviet Russia
    Keywords: economic history; mass production; wage formation; Fordism; Sweden; United States; Russia’s economic crisis
    JEL: N12 N14 N32 N34 O10 O50 O57
    Date: 2009–02–06
  3. By: Carlo Brambilla; Giandomenico Piluso
    Abstract: This paper focuses on the specific legacy of the 19th century private banking on Italian major mixed banks' practices. We consider their international connections (Paris, Berlin, etc.) and their operating patterns as compared to European ones. Besides, we provide a comparative quantitative analysis of their portfolios in order to evaluate how much they differed from the other major European universal banks, and to which extent investment banking activities were relevant in their portfolios.
    Keywords: investment banking, hybridisation, banking patterns
    JEL: G24 N23 N30 N83
    Date: 2008–01–01
  4. By: Roger Sandilands (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: This paper forms part of a wider project to show the significance of archival material on distinguished economists, in this case Lauchlin Currie (1902-93), who studied and taught at Harvard before entering government service at the US Treasury and Federal Reserve Board as the intellectual leader of Roosevelt’s New Deal, 1934-39, as FDR’s White House economic adviser in peace and war, 1939-45, and as a post-war development economist. It discusses the uses made of the written and oral material available when the author was writing his intellectual biography of Currie (Duke University Press 1990) while Currie was still alive, and the significance of the material that has come to light after Currie’s death.
    Keywords: Lauchlin Currie; economic biography; the New Deal; macroeconomic policy; development economics.
    JEL: A11 B25 E50 O10 O54
    Date: 2009–01
  5. By: Honkapohja, Seppo (Bank of Finland)
    Abstract: The current financial crisis, which has lasted almost one and a half years, is the 19th such crisis in the post-war period in advanced economies. Recent literature classifies the Nordic crises in Norway, Sweden and Finland in late 1980's and early 1990’s among the Big Five crises that have happened before the current crisis, which is now of a global nature. This paper outlines the developments of the Nordic crises, reasons behind them and crisis management by the authorities. Relatively more emphasis is placed on the Finnish crisis, as it was the deepest one. The paper concludes by considering the lessons that can be drawn from the Nordic crises.
    Keywords: financial deregulation; bank lending; overheating; financial crisis
    JEL: E44 G21
    Date: 2009–01–21
  6. By: Alessandro Del Boca (University of Brescia); Michele Fratianni (Indiana University, Kelly School of Business, Bloomington US, Univ. Plitecnica Marche - Dept of Economics, MoFiR); Franco Spinelli (University of Brescia); Carmine Trecroci (University of Brescia)
    Abstract: We examine Italian inflation rates and the Phillips curve with a very long-run perspective, one that covers the entire existence of the Italian lira from political unification (1861) to the entry of Italy in the European Monetary Union (end of 1998). We first study the volatility, persistence and stationarity of the Italian inflation rate over the long run and across various exchange-rate regimes that have shaped Italian monetary history. Next, we estimate alternative Phillips equations and investigate the extent to which nonlinearities, asymmetries and structural changes characterize the inflation-output trade-off in the long run. We capture the effects of structural changes and asymmetries on the estimated parameters of the inflation-output trade-off relying partly on sub-sample estimates and partly on time-varying parameters estimated with the Kalman filter. Finally, we investigate causal relationships between inflation rates and output and extend the analysis to include the US and the UK for comparison purposes. The inference is that Italy has experienced a conventional inflation-output trade-off only during times of low inflation and stable aggregate supply.
    Keywords: Inflation, Italian Lira, Phillips curve
    JEL: E31 E32 E5 N10
    Date: 2008–11
  7. By: Antonio Merlo; Vincenzo Galasso; Massimiliano Landi; Andrea Mattozzi
    Abstract: In this study, we analyze the career profiles of Italian politicians in the post-war period. Using a unique, newly collected data set that contains detailed information on all the politicians who have been elected to the Italian Parliament between 1948 and 2008, we address a number of important issues that pertain to: (1) their career paths prior to election to Parliament; (2) their parliamentary careers; and (3) their post-Parliament employment. Our data encompass two institutional regimes: the First Republic (1948-1993) and the Second Republic (1993-present), characterized by different electoral rules and party structures. After providing a comprehensive view of the career profiles of Italian politicians over the entire sample period, we highlight the major differences between the First and the Second Republic. We also compare the career paths of Italian legislators to those of the members of the United States Congress.
    Keywords: political careers, career politicians, Republic of Italy
    JEL: D72 J44 J45
    Date: 2008
  8. By: Majidov, Toshtemir; Ghosh, Dipak; Ruziev, Kobil
    Abstract: Uzbekistan's higher education system has undergone some dramatic changes in the past century, evolving from largely traditional religious colleges to fully state-funded communist-atheist institutions. Since the end of the communist administration and subsequent market-oriented reforms, the institutions of higher education (IHE) in Uzbekistan have had to reinvent and reform themselves again, as the demand for different kind of education increased. This paper puts the current changes and trends in IHEs into an historical perspective and highlights some important effects of the market reforms on the educational scene.
    Keywords: Education; Higher; Uzbekistan; Reforms; Transition
    Date: 2009–01
  9. By: Reinhart, Carmen; Vegh, Carlos; Velasco, Andres
    Abstract: Most of the chapters in this volume were prepared for a conference in honor of Guillermo Calvo, organized by the International Monetary Fund’s Research Department and held at Fund headquarters in Washington, DC, on April 15–16,2004. At the editors’ request, a couple of chapters were specially prepared after the conference for inclusion in this volume. The Fund was a natural and gracious host since Guillermo had a distinguished affiliation with the Fund’s Research Department from 1987 to 1994. Under his intellectual leadership, the Research Department carried out path-breaking research on, among other issues, capital flows, debt maturity, and inflation stabilization. Guillermo also made important contributions to the internal discussion and formulation of Fund policies, particularly in Eastern Europe, the former Soviet Union, and Latin America.
    Keywords: crises inflation exchange rates debt transition
    JEL: F3 E4
    Date: 2008
  10. By: Michele Fratianni (Indiana University, Kelly School of Business, Bloomington US, Univ. Plitecnica Marche - Dept of Economics, MoFiR)
    Abstract: Financial products are unstandardized and subject to a great deal of uncertainty. They tend to concentrate geographically because of the reduction in information costs resulting from close contacts. Concentration leads to economies of scale and encourages external economies. Great financial centers enjoy a high degree of persistence but are not immune from decline and eventual demise. Yet, their achievements are passed along in a an evolutionary manner. In revisiting the historical record of seven international financial centers –Florence, Venice, Genoa, Antwerp, Amsterdam, London and New Yorku' the paper finds evidence of a long evolutionary chain of banking and finance. As to the present and the future, the forces of integration are likely to give an additional boost to the persistence of international financial centers.
    Keywords: Amsterdam, Antwerp, Banking, Evolution, Finance, Florence, Genoa, London, Money, New York, Venice
    JEL: G15 G21 H63 N20
    Date: 2008–10
  11. By: Breit, William (Trinity University); Hirsch, Barry (Georgia State University)
    Abstract: This paper uses as source material twenty-three autobiographical essays by Nobel economists presented since 1984 at Trinity University (San Antonio, Texas) and published in Lives of the Laureates (MIT Press). A goal of the lecture series is to enhance understanding of the link between biography and the development of modern economic thought. We explore this link and identify common themes in the essays, relying heavily on the words of the laureates. Common themes include the importance of real-world events coupled with a desire for rigor and relevance, the critical influence of teachers, the necessity of scholarly interaction, and the role of luck or happenstance. Most of the laureates view their research program not as one planned in advance but one that evolved via the marketplace for ideas.
    Keywords: Nobel economists, economic thought, autobiography
    JEL: B3 B2 A1
    Date: 2009–01
  12. By: Roger Sandilands (Department of Economics, University of Strathclyde)
    Abstract: Hawtreyan 'Credit Deadlock' or Keynesian 'Liquidity Trap'? Lessons for Japan from the Great Depression
    Keywords: Great Depression; Japan’s Great Stagnation; Hawtreyan Credit deadlock; Keynesian Liquidity trap
    JEL: B22 B23 E12 E32 E58
    Date: 2009–01
  13. By: Michael Bordo; Tamara Gomes; Lawrence Schembri
    Abstract: Canada played an important role in the postwar establishment of the International Monetary Fund (IMF), yet it was also the first major member to challenge the orthodoxy of the BrettonWoods par value system by abandoning it in 1950 in favour of a floating, market-determined exchange rate. Although the IMF heavily criticized this decision, Canada's trail-blazing experience demonstrated that a flexible exchange rate could operate in a stable and effective manner under a high degree of capital mobility. Equally important, it showed that monetary policy needs to be conducted differently under a flexible exchange rate and capital mobility. The remarkable stability of the dollar during the 1950s contradicted previous wisdom on floating exchange rates, which had predicted significant volatility. In May of 1962, Canada returned to the BrettonWoods system as a "prodigal son" after a period of controversial monetary policy and a failed attempt to depreciate the value of the Canadian dollar. The authors critically analyze the interaction between Canadian and IMF officials regarding Canada's exchange rate policy in view of the economic circumstances and the prevailing wisdom at the time. They also examine the impact on IMF research and policy, because the Canadian experience influenced the work of Rudolf Rhomberg as well as Robert Mundell and Marcus Fleming, resulting in the development of the Mundell–Fleming model. Thus, the Canadian experience with a floating exchange rate not only had important implications for the IMF and the BrettonWoods system, but also for macroeconomic theory and policy in open economies.
    Keywords: Exchange rate regimes; Exchange rates; Monetary policy framework
    JEL: F41 N72 E52 E58
    Date: 2009
  14. By: Vanhaute, Eric
    Abstract: This tentative essay tries to understand today's concerns about the decay of the peasantries and the loss of food security on a massive scale within a long-term and global perspective. Guiding questions are: How to handle the local scale of the peasant with the global scale of societal transformations? How to define peasantries? How is the fate of peasantries linked to economic development and social inequality? What can new research on the success and decline of peasantries learn us? Understanding the old and new 'agrarian questions' calls for new historical knowledge of the role of peasantries within capitalist transformations. The existing knowledge is all to often deformed by a twofold myopia, the English Road to capitalist agriculture, and the European Experience of the dissolution of the peasantries within the industrial and post-industrial economies. Laying down the old premisses of westernized development reveals a different picture of a highly productive family based agriculture, promoting local and regional income and survival systems, and internalizing costs of production and reproduction, contrary to the dominant and ultimatelly dead end tendency within historical capitalism.
    Keywords: Peasantries; depeasantization
    JEL: N50 N0
    Date: 2008
  15. By: Bruno S. Frey; David A. Savage (School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology); Benno Torgler (School of Economics and Finance, Queensland University of Technology)
    Abstract: The sinking of the Titanic in April 1912 took the lives of 68 percent of the people aboard. Who survived? It was women and children who had a higher probability of being saved, not men. Likewise, people traveling in first class had a better chance of survival than those in second and third class. British passengers were more likely to perish than members of other nations. This extreme event represents a rare case of a well-documented life and death situation where social norms were enforced. This paper shows that economic analysis can account for human behavior in such situations.
    Keywords: Decision under Pressure, Tragic Events and Disasters, Survival, Quasi-Natural Experiment, Altruism
    JEL: D63 D64 D71 D81
    Date: 2009–02–06

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