nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒02‒28
twenty-two papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. The Structure of Protection and Growth in the Late 19th Century By Lehmann, Sibylle H.; O'Rourke, Kevin H
  2. Did the Glorious Revolution Contribute to the Transport Revolution? Evidence from Investment in Roads and Rivers By Dan Bogart
  3. Did British Women Achieve Long-Term Economic Benefits from Working in Essential WWII Industries? By Hart, Robert A.
  4. The Erosion of Colonial Trade Linkages After Independence By Head, Keith; Mayer, Thierry; Ries, John
  5. Luddites and the Demographic Transition By O'Rourke, Kevin H; Rahman, Ahmed; Taylor, Alan M
  6. The Supply Shock Explanation of the Great Stagflation Revisited By Alan S. Blinder; Jeremy B. Rudd
  7. Charitable Giving for Overseas Development: UK Trends Over a Quarter Century By Atkinson, Tony; Backus, Peter G.; Micklewright, John; Pharoah, Cathy; Schnepf, Sylke Viola
  8. Monetary Geography Before the Industrial Revolution By Flandreau, Marc; Galimard, Christophe; Jobst, Clemens; Nogués Marco, Maria Del Pilar
  9. The Italian Corporate Network, 1952-1983: New Evidence Using the Interlocking Directorates Technique By Alberto Rinaldi; Michelangelo Vasta
  10. The U.S. Business Cycle, 1867-1995: A Dynamic Factor Approach By Ritschl, Albrecht; Sarferaz, Samad; Uebele, Martin
  11. Banking Crises: An Equal Opportunity Menace By Reinhart, Carmen; Rogoff, Kenneth
  12. The Rise of A District Lead Firm: The Case of Wam (1968-2003) By Alberto Rinaldi
  13. The Rise and Fall of Spatial Inequalities in France: a Long-Run Perspective By Combes, Pierre-Philippe; Lafourcade, Miren; Thisse, Jacques-François; Toutain, Jean-Claude
  14. Globalization and Business Cycle Transmission By Artis, Michael J; Okubo, Toshihiro
  15. Industrial Policy and Artisan Firms in Italy, 1945-1981 By Giuseppe Maria Longoni; Alberto Rinaldi
  16. The Strategic Determinants of U.S. Human Rights Reporting: Evidence from the Cold War By Qian, Nancy; Yanagizawa, David
  17. Stock-Market Crashes and Depressions By Robert J. Barro; Jose Ursua
  18. The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence By Besley, Timothy J.; Persson, Torsten
  19. Dynamics and Stagnation in the Malthusian Epoch: Theory and Evidence By Ashraf, Quamrul; Galor, Oded
  20. Why did Canada nationalize liquor sales in the 1920s?: A political economy story By Ruth Dupré
  22. New Economic Geography: an appraisal on the occasion of Paul Krugman's 2008 Nobel Prize in Economics By Fujita, Masahisa; Thisse, Jacques-François

  1. By: Lehmann, Sibylle H.; O'Rourke, Kevin H
    Abstract: Many papers have explored the relationship between average tariff rates and economic growth, when theory suggests that the structure of protection is what should matter. We therefore explore the relationship between economic growth and agricultural tariffs, industrial tariffs, and revenue tariffs, for a sample of relatively well-developed countries between 1875 and 1913. Industrial tariffs were positively correlated with growth. Agricultural tariffs were negatively correlated with growth, although the relationship was often statistically insignificant at conventional levels. There was no relationship between revenue tariffs and growth.
    Keywords: growth; history; tariffs
    JEL: F13 F43 N10 N70 O49
    Date: 2008–11
  2. By: Dan Bogart (Department of Economics, University of California-Irvine)
    Abstract: Transport infrastructure investment increased substantially in Britain between the seventeenth and eighteenth century. This paper argues that the Glorious Revolution of 1688-89 contributed to transportation investment by reducing uncertainty about the security of improvement rights. It shows that road and river investment was low in the 1600s when several undertakers had their rights violated by major political changes or decrees from the King. It also shows that investment permanently increased after the Glorious Revolution when there was a lower likelihood that undertakers had their rights voided by acts. Together the evidence suggests that the political and institutional changes following Glorious Revolution made rights to improve infrastructure more secure and that promoters and investors responded to greater security by proposing and financing more projects.
    Keywords: Property rights; Investment under uncertainty; Glorious Revolution; Transport Revolution
    JEL: N43 N73 K23 H54
    Date: 2009–02
  3. By: Hart, Robert A. (University of Stirling)
    Abstract: Between mid-1939 and mid-1943 almost 2.2 million additional women were recruited into Britain's essential war industries. These consisted, predominantly, of young women recruited into metal and chemical industries. Much of the increased labour supply was achieved through government directed labour initiatives. This culminated, in January 1942, with the Control of Engagement Order whereby women between the ages of 18 and 40 who either entered the labour market or who changed employment were compulsorily directed into jobs and industries that were vital to the war effort. There were also many woman volunteers for such work, partly due to the fact that extreme labour scarcity drove up relative female wage rates. At least 42% of the 18-20 age cohorts and 32% of the 21-25 age cohorts in 1943 worked in the essential industries. Two-thirds of those involved owed their jobs to wartime industrial expansion. The majority of such women entered a world of work that had been previously dominated by men. They obtained considerable training, job experience and pay advantages compared to subsequent age cohorts who were not eligible for war work. This bestowed on them subsequent labour market advantages that would otherwise not have occurred. Using a regression discontinuity design the empirical work shows that the long term earnings benefits of those age cohorts eligible for conscription, measured 30 years after the war, were in the order of between 2% and 9% higher than the age cohorts that followed them.
    Keywords: WWII female employment, essential war industries, long-term real wages, regression discontinuity design
    JEL: J16 J24 J31 N44
    Date: 2009–02
  4. By: Head, Keith; Mayer, Thierry; Ries, John
    Abstract: The majority of independent nations today were part of empires in 1945. Using bilateral trade data from 1948 to 2006, we examine the effect of independence on post-colonial trade. On average, there is little short run effect of trade with the colonizer (metropole). However, after three decades trade declines more than 60%. We also find that trade between former colonies of the same empire erodes as much as trade with the metropole, whereas trade with third countries exhibits small and unsystematic changes after independence. Hostile separations lead to larger and more immediate reductions. Trade deterioration over extended time periods suggests the depreciation of some form of trading capital such as business networks or institutions.
    Keywords: Colonies; Gravity; Trade
    JEL: F15
    Date: 2008–09
  5. By: O'Rourke, Kevin H; Rahman, Ahmed; Taylor, Alan M
    Abstract: Technological change was unskilled-labor-biased during the early Industrial Revolution, but is skill-biased today. This is not embedded in extant unified growth models. We develop a model which can endogenously account for these facts, where factor bias reflects profit maximizing decisions by innovators. Endowments dictate that the early Industrial Revolution be unskilled-labor-biased. Increasing basic knowledge causes a growth takeoff, an income-led demand for fewer educated children, and the transition to skill-biased technological change. The simulated model tracks British industrialization in the 18th and 19th centuries and generates a demographic transition without relying on either rising skill premia or exogenous educational supply shocks.
    Keywords: demography; endogenous growth; unified growth theory
    JEL: J13 J24 N10 O31 O33
    Date: 2008–11
  6. By: Alan S. Blinder (Princeton University); Jeremy B. Rudd (Federal Reserve Board)
    Abstract: U.S. inflation data exhibit two notable spikes into the double-digit range in 1973-1974 and again in 1978-1980. The well-known “supply-shock” explanation attributes both spikes to large food and energy shocks plus, in the case of 1973-1974, the removal of price controls. Yet critics of this explanation have (a) attributed the surges in inflation to monetary policy and (b) pointed to the far smaller impacts of more recent oil shocks as evidence against the supply-shock explanation. This paper reexamines the impacts of the supply shocks of the 1970s in the light of the new data, new events, new theories, and new econometric studies that have accumulated over the past quarter century. We find that the classic supply-shock explanation holds up very well; in particular, neither data revisions nor updated econometric estimates substantially change the evaluations of the 1972-1983 period that were made 25 years (or more) ago. We also rebut several variants of the claim that monetary policy, rather than supply shocks, was really to blame for the inflation spikes. Finally, we examine several changes in the economy that may explain why the impacts of oil shocks are so much smaller now than they were in the 1970s.
    Date: 2008–11
  7. By: Atkinson, Tony; Backus, Peter G.; Micklewright, John; Pharoah, Cathy; Schnepf, Sylke Viola
    Abstract: Charitable giving for overseas development and emergency relief is important in the UK, being about a quarter of the size of government development aid. There has been a strong growth over time, reflecting the activities of development charities and the public response to a series of humanitarian emergencies. This paper examines how individual overseas giving has changed over the quarter century since 1978, using a newly constructed panel data set on donations to individual UK charities. When did the increase take place? Did the public respond to events such as Live Aid? Or has there been a steady upward trend as our society became more globalised? What form did the increase in giving take? Which charities have grown fastest? Have new charities displaced old? How do changes in giving for overseas compare with changes in giving for other causes such as cancer relief or animal welfare? What, if any, is the relation with Official Development Assistance?
    Keywords: charitable giving; overseas development; philanthropy; UK
    JEL: D12 D64 F35 L31
    Date: 2008–12
  8. By: Flandreau, Marc; Galimard, Christophe; Jobst, Clemens; Nogués Marco, Maria Del Pilar
    Abstract: In this article, we study Europe's monetary geography on the eve of the Industrial Revolution. Our unit of analysis is the city and we explore inter-city linkages. Important findings include a considerable degree of integration and multilateralism with monetary centers having already emerged as vehicles for international settlements, before the Industrial Revolution.
    Keywords: history; international currency; international monetary system; network analysis
    JEL: F33 N23
    Date: 2009–02
  9. By: Alberto Rinaldi; Michelangelo Vasta
    Abstract: The paper explores the structure of the Italian corporate network by focusing on the relationships between financial - banks, insurances and holdings - and industrial firms in Italy during the period 1952-83 through the analysis of the interlocks that existed between them. By an interlock is meant the link created between two firms when an induvidual belongs to the board of directors of both. The analysis is based on a database - Imita.db - containing data on over 130,000 directors of Italian joint stock companies for the years 1952, 1960, 1972 and 1983. After showing a descriptive statistics of the companies and the directors included in the database, the paper develops a network connectivity analysis of the system. This is integrated by a prosopographic study about the big linkers, defined as those directors cumulating the highest number of offices in each benchmark year. The paper confirms that the Italian corporate network maintained substantial peculiarities in the period investigated. In particular, it argues that interlocks played an important role in guaranteeing the stability of the positions of control of the major private companies and their connections with State-owned enterprises. In 1952 and 1960, the system, centred on the larger electrical companies, showed the highest degree of cohesion. That centre dissolved after the nationalisation of the electricity industry in 1962 and was replaced by a less strong and cohesive one, hinged on banks, insurances and the major finance companies. At the beginning of the 1980s the centre appeared to have been further reshaped with the marginalisation of state-owned enterprises.
    Keywords: Italy; Corporate Network; Interlocking directorates; Network Analysis; Big Linkers; Private and State-owned Enterprises
    JEL: N24 P12 C63
    Date: 2008–10
  10. By: Ritschl, Albrecht; Sarferaz, Samad; Uebele, Martin
    Abstract: This paper reexamines U.S. business cycle volatility since 1867. We employ dynamic factor analysis as an alternative to reconstructed national accounts. We find a remarkable volatility increase across World War I, which is reversed after World War II. While we can generate evidence of postwar moderation relative to pre-1914, this evidence is not robust to structural change, implemented by time-varying factor loadings. However, we find moderation in the nominal series. Moreover, we reproduce the standard moderation since the 1980s. Our estimates confirm the NIPA data also for the 1930s but support alternative estimates of Kuznets (1952) for World War II.
    Keywords: dynamic factor analysis; U.S. business cycle; volatility
    JEL: C43 E32 N11 N12
    Date: 2008–12
  11. By: Reinhart, Carmen; Rogoff, Kenneth
    Abstract: The historical frequency of banking crises is quite similar in high- and middle-to-low-income countries, with quantitative and qualitative parallels in both the run-ups and the aftermath. We establish these regularities using a unique dataset spanning from Denmark’s financial panic during the Napoleonic War to the ongoing global financial crisis sparked by subprime mortgage defaults in the United States. Banking crises dramatically weaken fiscal positions in both groups, with government revenues invariably contracting, and fiscal expenditures often expanding sharply. Three years after a financial crisis central government debt increases, on average, by about 86 percent. Thus the fiscal burden of banking crisis extends far beyond the commonly cited cost of the bailouts. Our new dataset includes housing price data for emerging markets; these allow us to show that the real estate price cycles around banking crises are similar in duration and amplitude to those in advanced economies, with the busts averaging four to six years. Corroborating earlier work, we find that systemic banking crises are typically preceded by asset price bubbles, large capital inflows and credit booms, in rich and poor countries alike.
    Keywords: bail out; banking; crisis; debt; equity prices; house prices
    JEL: E6 F3 N10
    Date: 2009–01
  12. By: Alberto Rinaldi
    Abstract: In recent years a major evolution in several industrial districts in Italy has been the emergence of new hierarchical structures that led to the rise of lead firms. These are firms that - contrary to canonical district firms which tend to remain small - pursue size growth, invest in marketing, distribution and R&D, reorganize their subcontracting networks, and become international by establishing commercial subsidiaries and prodcution facilities abroad. However, despite their increasing importance, lead firms' histories remain largely unexplored. This paper contributes to fill this gap by examining the case of one of such lead firms: Wam, a company set up in 1968 in the mechanical engineering district of Modena, which at the beginning of the 21st century had become the world leader in the production of bulk material handling and dust filtration machinery. This paper in particular focuses on the strategy of growth and internationalization that this company has pursued and its effects in both the host nations and in its Italian ID of origin.
    Keywords: Italy; Industrial Districts; Lead firms; Internationalization.
    JEL: N24 P12 C63
    Date: 2009–02
  13. By: Combes, Pierre-Philippe; Lafourcade, Miren; Thisse, Jacques-François; Toutain, Jean-Claude
    Abstract: This paper uses a unique database that provides value-added, employment, and population levels for the entire set of French departments for the years 1860, 1930, and 2000. These data cover three sectors: agriculture, manufacturing, and services. This allows us to study the evolution of spatial inequalities within France and to test the empirical relevance of economic geography predictions over the long run. The evidence confirms the existence of a bell-shaped evolution of the spatial concentration of manufacturing and services. In contrast, labor productivity has been converging across departments. Last, our study also confirms the presence of strong agglomeration economies during the full time-period. Market potential during the first sub-period (1860-1930), and higher education during the second (1930-2000), together with sectoral diversity, account for the spatial distribution of these gains.
    Keywords: agglomeration economies; economic geography; economic history; human capital
    JEL: N93 N94 O18 R12
    Date: 2008–10
  14. By: Artis, Michael J; Okubo, Toshihiro
    Abstract: The paper uses long-run GDP data for developed countries drawn from Maddison (2003) to generate deviation cycles for the period from 1870 to 2001. The cyclical deviates are examined for their bilateral cross-correlation values in three separate periods, those of the first globalization wave (1870 to 1914), the period of the “bloc economy” (1915 to 1959) and for the period of the second globalization (1960-2001). Cluster analysis is applied and the McNemar test is used to test for the relative coherence of alternative groupings of countries in the three periods. The bloc economy period emerges as one that features some well-defined sub-global clusters, where the second globalization period does not, the first globalization period lying between the two in this respect. The second globalization period shows a generally higher level of cross correlations and a lower variance than the other two periods. The features uncovered suggest that the second globalization period is indeed one that comprises a more inclusive world economy than ever before.
    Keywords: bloc economy; business cycle; cluster analysis; globalization; McNemar Test
    JEL: E32 F0 F15 F41 N10
    Date: 2008–11
  15. By: Giuseppe Maria Longoni; Alberto Rinaldi
    Abstract: This paper shows that after the Second World War the Italian state carried out an artisanship policy (that is, for the smallest firms) of an extent that was unparalleled in Europe. This policy was based on the provision, on the one hand, of lower tax and employers' contributions and welfare benefits at reduced premiums and, on the other hand, of 'substitutive factors': soft loans, services and promotional initiatives by state agencies. Such an artisan policy played a twofold role: partly 'defensive', protecting a segment of marginal firms, and partly 'proactive', prompting modernisation and innovation of more promising firms. The latter were clustered especially in the industrial district of the centre and north-easte of the country, whose development turned out to be boosted to a significant extent by state intervention.
    Keywords: Italy; Industrial districts; Artisan firms; Indsutrial Policy
    JEL: N24 N44 O25 O38
    Date: 2008–10
  16. By: Qian, Nancy; Yanagizawa, David
    Abstract: This paper uses a country-level panel dataset to test the hypothesis that the United States biases its human rights reports of countries based on the latters’ strategic value. We use the difference between the U.S. State Department’s and Amnesty International’s reports as a measure of U.S. "bias". For plausibly exogenous variation in strategic value to the U.S., we compare this bias between U.S. Cold War (CW) allies to non-CW allies, before and after the CW ended. The results show that allying with the U.S. during the CW significantly improves reports on a country’s human rights situation from the U.S. State Department relative to Amnesty International.
    Keywords: International Relations; Political Economy; War
    JEL: F5 N4 P16
    Date: 2008–10
  17. By: Robert J. Barro; Jose Ursua
    Abstract: Long-term data for 25 countries up to 2006 reveal 195 stock-market crashes (multi-year real returns of -25% or less) and 84 depressions (multi-year macroeconomic declines of 10% or more), with 58 of the cases matched by timing. The United States has two of the matched events - the Great Depression 1929-33 and the post-WWI years 1917-21, likely driven by the Great Influenza Epidemic. 45% of the matched cases are associated with war, and the two world wars are prominent. Conditional on a stock-market crash, the probability of a minor depression (macroeconomic decline of at least 10%) is 30% and of a major depression (at least 25%) is 11%. In a non-war environment, these probabilities are lower but still substantial - 20% for a minor depression and 3% for a major depression. Thus, the stock-market crashes of 2008-09 in the United States and other countries provide ample reason for concern about depression. In reverse, the probability of a stock-market crash is 69%, conditional on a depression of 10% or more, and 91% for 25% or more. Thus, the largest depressions are particularly likely to be accompanied by stock-market crashes, and this finding applies equally to non-war and war events. We allow for flexible timing between stock-market crashes and depressions for the 58 matched cases to compute the covariance between stock returns and an asset-pricing factor, which depends on the proportionate decline of consumption during a depression. If we assume a coefficient of relative risk aversion around 3.5, this covariance is large enough to account in a familiar looking asset-pricing formula for the observed average (levered) equity premium of 7% per year. This finding complements previous analyses that were based on the probability and size distribution of macroeconomic disasters but did not consider explicitly the covariance between macroeconomic declines and stock returns.
    JEL: E01 E21 E23 E44 G12
    Date: 2009–02
  18. By: Besley, Timothy J.; Persson, Torsten
    Abstract: This paper studies the incidence of civil war over time. We put forward a canonical model of civil war, which relates the incidence of conflict to circumstances, institutions and features of the underlying economy and polity. We use this model to derive testable predictions and to interpret the cross-sectional and times-series variations in civil conflict. Our most novel empirical finding is that higher world market prices of exported, as well as imported, commodities are strong and significant predictors of higher within-country incidence of civil war.
    Keywords: commodity prices; conflict; natural resources; political institutions
    JEL: D74 F52 O11 Q34
    Date: 2008–12
  19. By: Ashraf, Quamrul; Galor, Oded
    Abstract: This paper empirically tests the predictions of the Malthusian theory with respect to both population dynamics and income per capita stagnation in the pre-Industrial Revolution era. The theory suggests that improvements in technology during this period generated only temporary gains in income per capita, eventually leading to a larger but not richer population. Using exogenous cross-country variations in land productivity and the timing of the Neolithic Revolution, the analysis demonstrates that, in accordance with the Malthusian theory, societies that were characterized by higher land productivity and an earlier onset of agriculture had higher population densities, but similar standards of living, during the time period 1-1500 CE.
    Keywords: Land; Malthusian Stagnation; Population Dynamics; Technological Progress
    JEL: N10 N30 N50 O10 O40 O50
    Date: 2008–11
  20. By: Ruth Dupré (IEA, HEC Montréal)
    Abstract: While the American episode of alcohol prohibition (1919-1933) is notorious and has been extensively studied, very little work has been done in a comparative international perspective. We contribute to this comparative international analysis by focusing here on the different path chosen by Canada in the 1920s. At the same time that its American neighbor went «bone dry», the Canadian provinces, one by one, starting with Quebec and British Columbia in 1921 and ending with Ontario in 1927, set up public liquor sale systems still with us today. This paper addresses the question of why and how did the Canadian provinces do this. The choice they faced between prohibition and nationalization can be analyzed with a political economy model by comparing the strength and stakes of the «drys» and the «wets» in the different provinces.
    Date: 2008–11
  21. By: Roberto Luis Jaramillo; Adolfo Meisel Roca
    Abstract: En este trabajo se analizan los principales aspectos económicos de la “desamortización de bienes de manos muertas” en Colombia, en el período 1861-1888. Las “manos muertas” eran bienes raíces, muebles, semovientes y censos (préstamos hipotecarios) que no podían ser vendidos o redimidos, por lo cual estaban fuera del mercado. Casi todos los bienes de manos muertas eran bienes controlados por el clero, la cual derivaba un gran poder económico y político de ellos. El ala radical del Partido Liberal gobernó entre 1863 y 1876, y promovió reformas para eliminar obstáculos del antiguo régimen al avance de la producción. La más importante fue la figura jurídica de la desamortización de bienes de manos muertas. Este proyecto llegó a consumarse durante el gobierno del ala Liberal Independiente o Regeneradora, entre 1876 y 1887; en este ultimó año el proceso finalizó por medio del convenio firmado entre la nueva República de Colombia y la Santa Sede. Por medio de ese documento, o Concordato, se le reconoció a la Iglesia Católica “el valor de los censos redimidos en su Tesoro y de los bienes desamortizados…” En la historiografía económica colombiana a la desamortización se le ha dado poca importancia ya que en este respecto ha sido mayúscula la influencia de la historiografía conservadora. Tales errores de apreciación solo se corrigen con una investigación en fuentes primarias. Con el presente trabajo, y utilizando fuentes que desconocieron los fundadores de la historiografía económica nacional, se concluye que la desamortización fue la reforma económica más importante del sigo XIX, pues constituyó al menos el 16% del PIB de 1860, y porque fue un excelente negocio para la nación colombiana.
    Date: 2008–12–16
  22. By: Fujita, Masahisa; Thisse, Jacques-François
    Abstract: Paul Krugman has clarified the microeconomic underpinnings of both spatial economic agglomerations and regional imbalances at national and international levels. He has achieved this with a series of remarkably original papers and books that succeed in combining imperfect competition, increasing returns, and transportation costs in new and powerful ways.Yet, not everything was brand new in New Economic Geography. To be precise, several disparate pieces of high-quality work were available in urban economics and location theory. Our purpose in this paper is to shed new light on economic geography through the lenses of these two fields of economics and regional science.
    Keywords: Economic geography; Location theory; Trade; Urban economics
    JEL: F12 L13 R12
    Date: 2008–12

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