nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒03‒14
nine papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. Commodity Market Disintegration in the Interwar Period By Hynes, William; Jacks, David S.; O'Rourke, Kevin H
  2. Commodity Price Volatility and World Market Integration since 1700 By Jacks, David S.; O'Rourke, Kevin H; Williamson, Jeffrey G
  3. "The Activities of a Japanese Bank in the Interwar Financial Centers: A Case of the Yokohama Specie Bank" By Makoto Kasuya
  4. The Evolution of the Corporation: Organization, Finance, Knowledge and Corporate Social Responsibility By Peer Zumbansen
  5. Community Characteristics and Demographic Development: Three Württemberg Communities, 1558 - 1914 By Ogilvie, S.; Küpker, M.; Maegraith, J.
  6. The Aftermath of Financial Crises By Reinhart, Carmen; Rogoff, Kenneth
  7. The Spanish economy in EMU: The first ten years By Ángel Estrada; Juan Francisco Jimeno; José Luis Malo de Molina
  8. The Slave Trade and the Origins of Mistrust in Africa By Nathan Nunn; Leonard Wantchekon
  9. Caricatura & Economía Una mirada a la historia económica de Colombia By Juanita Villaveces et al

  1. By: Hynes, William; Jacks, David S.; O'Rourke, Kevin H
    Abstract: Using data collected by the International Institute of Agriculture, we document the disintegration of international commodity markets between 1913 and 1938. There was dramatic disintegration during World War I, gradual reintegration during the 1920s, and then a very substantial disintegration after 1929. The period saw the unravelling of a great many of the integration gains of the 1870-1913 period. While increased transport costs certainly help to explain the wartime disintegration, they cannot explain the post-1929 increase in trade costs. Protectionism seems the most likely alternative candidate.
    Keywords: commodity markets; deglobalization; disintegration; Great Depression; interwar economy; trade
    JEL: F13 F15 F59 N70
    Date: 2009–03
  2. By: Jacks, David S.; O'Rourke, Kevin H; Williamson, Jeffrey G
    Abstract: Poor countries are more volatile than rich countries, and we know this volatility impedes their growth. We also know that commodity price volatility is a key source of those shocks. This paper explores commodity and manufactures prices over the past three centuries to answer three questions: Has commodity price volatility increased over time? The answer is no: there is little evidence of trend since 1700. Have commodities always shown greater price volatility than manufactures? The answer is yes. Higher commodity price volatility is not the modern product of asymmetric industrial organizations – oligopolistic manufacturing versus competitive commodity markets – that only appeared with the industrial revolution. It was a fact of life deep into the 18th century. Does world market integration breed more or less commodity price volatility? The answer is less. Three centuries of history show unambiguously that economic isolation caused by war or autarkic policy has been associated with much greater commodity price volatility, while world market integration associated with peace and pro-global policy has been associated with less commodity price volatility. Given specialization and comparative advantage, globalization has been good for growth in poor countries at least by diminishing price volatility. But comparative advantage has never been constant. Globalization increased poor country specialization in commodities when the world went open after the early 19th century; but it did not do so after the 1970s as the Third World shifted to labor-intensive manufactures. Whether price volatility or specialization dominates terms of trade and thus aggregate volatility in poor countries is thus conditional on the century.
    Keywords: Commodity prices; development; history; volatility
    JEL: F14 N7 O19
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Makoto Kasuya (Faculty of Economics, University of Tokyo)
    Abstract: This paper aims to analyze the role of a branch of a Japanese bank in the internationals financial centers and its change during the Interwar period. Branches of international exchange banks generally buy bills for goods exported from where they exist, to collect bills for goods imported to where they exist, and to transfer funds with other branches. In addition to these "ordinary" businesses branches in the international financial centers raise funds by selling bills there or by borrowing money from other banks, to makes investments for securing reserves, and to advise letters of credit issued by large banks there. This paper sheds light on these activities of the Yokohama Specie Bank, which was the largest international exchange bank in Japan before the Second World War and shows that branches in London and New York facilitated the flow of funds within the bank. The Interwar period saw significant change in international money flow as New York grew to an international financial center, which was as important as London and also saw the Great Depression and international conflicts after that. This paper analyzes how businesses of the two branches changed in order to cope with turbulence in the financial markets.
    Date: 2009–01
  4. By: Peer Zumbansen
    Abstract: This paper, which selectively focuses on the contested concept of Corporate Social Responsibility [CSR], forms part of a larger research project on the evolution of corporate governance. This research posits the evolution of corporate governance along three historical paradigms: first, the economic/industrial organization paradigm, second, the financial paradigm, and third, the knowledge paradigm. With regard to CSR, the paper explores the promises and shortcomings of the concept against the background of an evolutionary theory of corporate governance. The identification of three historical-conceptual paradigms allows us to trace the development of the relation between a general discourse on corporate governance regulation [CGR] on the one hand and a more specialized, often polemic debate over corporate (social, environmental, human rights) responsibilities on the other. On the basis of the review of the three paradigms of CSR over the course of more than one hundred years, the paper concludes that there is no convincing justification to separate the general Corporate Governance from the more specific CSR discourse when assessing the nature of the corporation. Instead, it is argued that a more adequate understanding of what defines a corporation is gained when capturing its embedded nature in a continuously changing domestic, global and functional environment. Besides being both a legal fiction and an economic actor, the business corporation is assuming a host of other roles in a functionally differentiated global society. The paper suggests that the generation and dissemination of knowledge, both internally and externally, has become the defining feature of the firm. The corporation as a knowledge actor succeeds the prior stages of assessing it as a private, political or financial actor, without however erasing these dimensions of the firm. In that, the history of the corporation - as concept and reality - shares important features with that of the state - as concept and as fact.
    Keywords: corporate social responsibility, corporate governance, financialisation, economic sociology, knowledge society, uncertainty, risk, management
    JEL: G38 K22
    Date: 2008–12
  5. By: Ogilvie, S.; Küpker, M.; Maegraith, J.
    Abstract: Demographic behaviour is influenced not just by attributes of individuals but also by characteristics of the communities in which those individuals live. A project on ‘Economy, Gender, and Social Capital in the German Demographic Transition’ is analyzing the longterm determinants of fertility by carrying out family reconstitutions of three Württemberg communities (Auingen, Ebhausen, and Wildberg) between c. 1558 and 1914. A related project on ‘Human Well-Being and the “Industrious Revolution”: Consumption, Gender and Social Capital in a German Developing Economy, 1600-1900’ is using marriage and death inventories to investigate how consumption interacted with production and demographic behaviour in two of these communities. This paper examines the historical, political, institutional, geographical, and economic attributes of the communities analyzed in these projects and discusses their potential effects. The aim is to generate testable hypotheses and relevant independent variables for subsequent econometric analyses of demographic behaviour.
    Keywords: economic history; demography; fertility; gender; social capital; institutions; politics; geography; occupational structure; Germany
    JEL: N0 N33 N43 N53 N63 N73 N93 J1 J13 O13 O15
    Date: 2009–03
  6. By: Reinhart, Carmen; Rogoff, Kenneth
    Abstract: This paper examines the depth and duration of the slump that invariably follows severe financial crises, which tend to be protracted affairs. We find that asset market collapses are deep and prolonged. On a peak-to-trough basis, real housing price declines average 35 percent stretched out over six years, while equity price collapses average 55 percent over a downturn of about three and a half years. Not surprisingly, banking crises are associated with profound declines in output and employment. The unemployment rate rises an average of 7 percentage points over the down phase of the cycle, which lasts on average over four years. Output falls an average of over 9 percent, although the duration of the downturn is considerably shorter than for unemployment. The real value of government debt tends to explode, rising an average of 86 percent in the major post-World War II episodes. The main cause of debt explosions is usually not the widely cited costs of bailing out and recapitalizing the banking system. The collapse in tax revenues in the wake of deep and prolonged economic contractions is a critical factor in explaining the large budget deficits and increases in debt that follow the crisis. Our estimates of the rise in government debt are likely to be conservative, as these do not include increases in government guarantees, which also expand briskly during these episodes.
    Keywords: duration; financial crisies; real estate; unemployment
    JEL: E44 F30 N20
    Date: 2009–03
  7. By: Ángel Estrada (Banco de España); Juan Francisco Jimeno (Banco de España); José Luis Malo de Molina (Banco de España)
    Abstract: This paper has been prepared to mark the tenth anniversary of Economic and Monetary Union (EMU). It seeks to give an overview of the Spanish economy’s experience in this new institutional setting. It should be viewed as the result of a joint effort by a sizeable group of researchers from the Banco de España Directorate General Economics, Statistics and Research to rationalise the implications of a structural change on this scale. To do this, the paper firstly defines the starting conditions of the Spanish economy, at the time when there was only a commitment to join the Monetary Union as a founding member; in this connection, it sets out the advantages of belonging to the euro area versus the possibility of having remained outside it. Next, it describes the main transformations made in converting this commitment into reality. Further, it reviews developments in the economic variables that best document the main events of the past decade, focusing both on the factors underpinning the expansion and the headway in convergence, and on the imbalances that triggered the start of the adjustment, and assesses the scope of these imbalances. Finally, it describes the basic features of the process of adjustment towards a new path of sustained economic growth, emphasising the difficulties added by the superimposition of the international financial crisis.
    Keywords: Spanish economy, EMU, international financial crisis
    JEL: E58 E66 F33
    Date: 2009–02
  8. By: Nathan Nunn; Leonard Wantchekon
    Abstract: We investigate the historical origins of mistrust within Africa. Combining contemporary household survey data with historic data on slave shipments, we show that individuals whose ancestors were heavily raided during the slave trade today exhibit less trust in neighbors, relatives, and their local government. We confirm that the relationship is causal by using the historic distance from the coast of a respondent's ancestors as an instrument for the intensity of the slave trade, while controlling for the individual's current distance from the coast. We undertake a number of falsification tests, all of which suggest that the necessary exclusion restriction is satisfied. Exploiting variation among individuals who live in locations different from their ancestors, we show that most of the impact of the slave trade works through factors that are internal to the individual, such as cultural norms, beliefs, and values.
    JEL: N00 O1
    Date: 2009–03
  9. By: Juanita Villaveces et al
    Abstract: Este trabajo recoge el resultado de una opción metodológica que se implementó en el curso de historia económica de Colombia para los estudiantes de Economía y Finanzas y Comercio Internacional de la Facultad de Economía de la Universidad del Rosario. En general, la idea surgió como una iniciativa para acercarse, desde otra perspectiva, al estudio de la historia económica de Colombia. Los estudiantes realizaron un trabajo con base en una caricatura que reflejara alguna coyuntura económica de nuestra historia a partir de la segunda mitad del siglo xix, época en que aparecen las caricaturas en la prensa nacional. Los trabajos acá presentados no necesariamente coinciden con aquello que el caricaturista quiso representar. Más bien refl ejan aquello que los estudiantes, con una brecha histórica signifi cativa, perciben e intuyen a través de la caricatura. Es decir, el trabajo permitió que se acercaran a realidades graficadas y las interpretaran siguiendo un análisis histórico y económico del hecho que ellos percibieron en la caricatura. Posteriormente este trabajo fue presentado en un concurso de innovación pedagógica, y fue elegido y financiado para profundizar en la investigación. Los resultados posteriores se presentarán más adelante cuando se concluya la investigación de Caricatura y economía. Una mirada gráfica a la historia económica de Colombia. Ésta es una compilación de los mejores trabajos seleccionados, hechos por los estudiantes del curso de historia económica de Colombia. Dada la heterogeneidad de dichos trabajos, se clasificaron por periodos históricos. Esta investigación está dividida en cinco partes; la primera, hace una revisión bibliográfica de los trabajos que se apoyan en caricaturas como fuente primaria y la validez de este análisis para el estudio de la historia económica. La segunda, contiene los trabajos que hacen referencia al siglo xix, específicamente al período de la Regeneración. La tercera parte hace el recuento de un periodo interesante para la economía colombiana: los años veinte, la indemnización del Canal de Panamá. Los choques partidistas que llevaron a los liberales al poder en los treinta se muestran en la cuarta parte. En la quinta, se presentan caricaturas alusivas a las difi cultades y cambios estructurales que se vivieron desde la década de los ochenta: la crisis fi nanciera, las reformas de los años noventa y la crisis de fi nales de siglo. Al fi nal se hace una breve descripción de los caricaturistas cuyas gráficas fueron utilizadas para el desarrollo de los análisis.
    Date: 2008–09–30

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