nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒05‒02
eighteen papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. How useful is anthropometric history? By Komlos, John
  2. Globalization Dynamics in Latin America: South Cone and Iberian Investments By Mário Gómez, Cezar Guedes
  3. The diversity of organisational forms in banking: France, Italy and Spain 1900-2000 By Maixe-Altes, J. Carles
  4. History of economics: Learning from the past By Alexander Dow; Sheila Dow
  5. Wages and Human Capital in the U.S. Financial Industry: 1909-2006 By Philippon, Thomas; Reshef, Ariell
  6. Why Might History Matter for Development Policy? By Kanbur, Ravi
  7. Knowledge, Communication and the Scottish Enlightenment By Sheila Dow
  8. Civil War: A Review of 50 Years of Research By Christopher Blattman; Edward Miguel
  9. Colonial Experience and Postcolonial Underdevelopment in Africa By Nobuhiro Mizuno; Ryosuke Okazawa
  10. Revitalizing and Modernizing Smallholder Agriculture for Food Security, Rural Development and Demobilization in a Post-War Country: The Case of the Aldeia Nova Project in Angola By Kimhi, Ayal
  11. Theories of economic development in the Scottish enlightenment By Alexander Dow; Sheila Dow
  12. The two sides of a ghost: Twenty years without the wall By Migheli, Matteo
  13. A Fresh Look at Global Governance: Exploring Objective Criteria for Representation By Enrique Rueda-Sabater; Vijaya Ramachandran; Robin Kraft
  14. Historical Foundations of American Technology By Gavin Wright
  15. Three Epochs of Oil By Eyal Dvir; Kenneth S. Rogoff
  16. Locked-in and Sticky Textbooks: Mainstream Teaching of the Money Supply Process By Boermans, Martijn Adriaan; Moore, Basil J
  17. The rise of multinationals from emerging countries. A review of the literature By A. Amighini; M. Sanfilippo; R. Rabellotti
  18. The Justifying Documents – the Accounting Registration Base of the Works and Services Executed By Third Parties By ciumag, marin; ciumag, anca

  1. By: Komlos, John
    Abstract: In his recent presidential address to the American Economic History Association, Paul Hohenberg argued that anthropometric history does not meet his criteria for useful research in the field of economic history. He considers research useful if (a) it "helps shape one of our underlying disciplines"; b) it contributes "to clear—even fresh—thinking about current, policy-related issues or on-going scholarly debates about the historical past"; and c) it "penetrates the fuzzy realm of identity-shaping popular discourse". I argue briefly that only a superficial reading of the literature would lead to the conclusion that anthropometric history has not been useful.
    Keywords: Economic History - General; Economic History - Development of the Discipline: Historiographical; Sources and Methods
    JEL: N00 N01
    Date: 2009–04–20
  2. By: Mário Gómez, Cezar Guedes
    Abstract: This paper analyzes in perspective the integration process through which Latin America, specially the South Cone, went through during the long formation process of the world economy, since the expansion that brought Latin America to capitalist development until the early XXI century. It emphasizes the 1980’s, when a new form of integration begun, marked by trade and financial liberalization and an increasing market integration combined by the formation of trading blocks both in at world and regional levels. It studies deeper the special logics and the relations of South Cone as destiny of Spanish and Portuguese foreign direct investment. The article is structured in two parts: the first one analysis the Latin American integration process with the world economy since its origins, markedly the colonial period. The second part studies some results and disjunctives of this new period, characterized by the increasing presence of large multinational and Iberian companies in Latin America. Keywords: modelo de desarrollo, macroeconomía, politica económica, desarrollo, politica monetária, ética politica, investimento.
    JEL: E0 E6
    Date: 2009–03
  3. By: Maixe-Altes, J. Carles
    Abstract: This paper examines, from a historical perspective, the gradual entrance into the market of mutual and not for profit banks (specifically cooperative banks and savings banks), their continually increasing competitiveness with traded banks in France, Italy and Spain. In all three countries, these institutions played an important role in the retail banking sector. Special attention will be devoted to analysing the different models of adjustment adopted by the banking systems in the south of Europe in the wake of the deregulating process undertaken in the last quarter of the twentieth century. In summary, then, this paper is an attempt to identify the historical factors responsible for the persistence, or disappearance, of certain idiosyncratic aspects of the banking system in each country, together with the various adjustments produced in each case.
    Keywords: banks; savings banks; co-operative banks; comparative banking systems; France; Spain; Italy
    JEL: N24 N2 N84
    Date: 2009–04
  4. By: Alexander Dow (Stirling Centre for Economic Methodology); Sheila Dow (University of Stirling)
    Abstract: The premise on which this paper builds is that modern economists unduly neglect history. The paper aims to support the argument that this is undesirable by looking at past episodes in the development of economic thought where economics has benefited from a historical approach. The first example to be explored is the staples approach of Harold Innis of the University of Toronto. He drew on the history of staples industries in Canada in order to formulate a theory of economic development. The second example is the stages approach as put forward in the Scottish Enlightenment and developed by later writers, whereby different episodes of economic history are categorised according to different stages of economic organisation.
    Keywords: history of economics, methodology of economics
    JEL: B41
    Date: 2009–01
  5. By: Philippon, Thomas; Reshef, Ariell
    Abstract: We use detailed information about wages, education and occupations to shed light on the evolution of the U.S. financial sector over the past century. We uncover a set of new, interrelated stylized facts: financial jobs were relatively skill intensive, complex, and highly paid until the 1930s and after the 1980s, but not in the interim period. We investigate the determinants of this evolution and find that financial deregulation and corporate activities linked to IPOs and credit risk increase the demand for skills in financial jobs. Computers and information technology play a more limited role. Our analysis also shows that wages in finance were excessively high around 1930 and from the mid 1990s until 2006. For the recent period we estimate that rents accounted for 30% to 50% of the wage differential between the financial sector and the rest of the private sector.
    Keywords: finance; human capital; regulation; wages
    JEL: G0 J0 N0 O0
    Date: 2009–04
  6. By: Kanbur, Ravi
    Keywords: International Development, Political Economy,
    Date: 2009–01–26
  7. By: Sheila Dow (University of Stirling)
    Abstract: The purpose of the paper is to consider Adam Smith's ideas on rhetoric in relation to his philosophy and his economics, against the background of the Scottish Enlightenment. For Smith, communication was important partly as a vehicle for persuasion in the absence of scope for argument by demonstrable proof. He distinguished between the derivation of (provisional) knowledge by the Newtonian experimental method, and the communication of that knowledge as if it were based on derivation from first principles. Subsequent misinterpretation of Smith's economics can be understood as stemming from mistaking the rhetoric for the method, and interpreting first principles as axioms.
    Keywords: Adam Smith, Scottish enlightenment, rhetoric
    JEL: B41
  8. By: Christopher Blattman; Edward Miguel
    Abstract: Most nations have experienced an internal armed conflict since 1960. The past decade has witnessed an explosion of research into the causes and consequences of civil wars, belatedly bringing the topic into the economics mainstream. This article critically reviews this interdisciplinary literature and charts productive paths forward. Formal theory has focused on a central puzzle: why do civil wars occur at all when, given the high costs of war, groups have every incentive to reach an agreement that avoids fighting? Explanations have focused on information asymmetries and the inability to sign binding contracts in the absence of the rule of law. Economic theory has made less progress, however, on the thornier (but equally important) problems of why armed groups form and cohere, and why individuals decide to fight. Likewise, the actual behavior of armed organizations and their leaders is poorly understood. On the empirical side, a vast cross-country econometric literature has aimed to identify the causes of civil war. While most work is plagued by econometric identification problems, low per capita incomes, slow economic growth and geographic conditions favoring insurgency are the factors most robustly linked to civil war. We argue that micro-level analysis and data are needed to truly decipher war’s causes, and understand the recruitment, organization, and conduct of armed groups. Recent advances in this area are highlighted. Finally, turning to the economic legacies of war, we frame the literature in terms of neoclassical economic growth theory. Emerging stylized facts include the ability of some economies to experience rapid macroeconomic recoveries, while certain human capital impacts appear more persistent. Yet econometric identification has not been adequately addressed, and there is little consensus on the most effective policies to avert conflicts or promote postwar recovery. The evidence is weakest where it is arguably most important: in understanding civil wars’ effects on institutions, technology, and social norms.
    Keywords: Civil war, violence, economic development, growth
    JEL: H56 O10 O40 C80
    Date: 2009–03
  9. By: Nobuhiro Mizuno (Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University); Ryosuke Okazawa (Graduate School of Economics, Kyoto University)
    Abstract: IIn this paper, we analyze the connection between the history of colonial rule and postcolonial development in Africa. We focus on the fact that many African colonies were governed by indirect rule. Under indirect rule, indigenous people are divided into two groups: a privileged ruling group and an unprivileged ruled group. Our model assumes that the ruled group cannot observe how their deprived resources are divided between the metropolitan ruler and the ruling group. In this economy, a large level of exploitation by the metropolitan ruler yields distrust among indigenous groups and creates a negative effect on postcolonial economic and political development.
    Keywords: Africa, colonialism, indirect rule, colonial legacies, ethnic conflict
    JEL: D74 N47 O10
    Date: 2009–04
  10. By: Kimhi, Ayal
    Abstract: The Aldeia Nova project aimed at demobilizing ex-combatants to remote areas and settling them in modern agricultural communities. Three years since the first settlers arrived at the Waku-Kungu valley, 600 families are using modern agricultural technology to produce milk, eggs and vegetables which are marketed in the urban centers of Angola. These families earn a decent living and provide employment to hundreds of others. The entire area was revitalized with thousands of families pouring in to enjoy the benefits of the booming local economy. This paper presents the concept of the Aldeia Nova project, describes its evolution, and discusses its strengths and weaknesses. It concludes that the benefits of the project go far beyond its measureable economic impact, and that its ambitious goals are not beyond the reach of the Angolan people.
    Keywords: Smallholder agriculture, Rural development, Food security, Technology adoption, Cooperation, Demobilization, Reconciliation, Angola., Food Security and Poverty,
    Date: 2009
  11. By: Alexander Dow (Stirling Centre for Economic Methodology); Sheila Dow (University of Stirling)
    Abstract: The purpose of this paper is to consider why Scottish Enlightenment thought should have generated a particular theory of economic development. Ideas about economic development in the Scottish Enlightenment period involve a certain circularity. One of the key arguments was that economic development encourages creativity and ideas, which promote productivity growth. The Enlightenment itself, as a set of ideas, can be seen in part as the outcome of earlier economic development in Scotland, particularly in the form of agricultural improvement. This process of innovation or 'art', encouraged by the division of labour, applies particularly to the fourth of the stages of economic development: commercialisation (the stages approach being a characteristic feature of Enlightenment thought). We explore further the argument that the Scottish Enlightenment was as much a product as a cause of economic development. In particular we consider whether the characteristics of prior economic development, and its cultural context, can help us understand the distinctive features of Scottish Enlightenment thought on economic development, with particular emphasis on the role of ideas. In the process, we address the current argument that this thought was directed at the Scottish Highlands, by considering how far ideas in the Scottish Enlightenment more generally were influenced by the cultural environment.
    Keywords: economic development, Scottish enlightenment
    JEL: B41
  12. By: Migheli, Matteo
    Abstract: This paper compares individual preferences for a market economy in Western and Eastern Europe over more than one decade, since the fall of Berlin Wall. The aim is to understand whether preferences in the two blocks have converged towards the current orientation of the EU's economic policy: a market economy, where the Government decides the rules, but does not enter the game directly. This is important as in a democratic system the approved guidelines need the support of the population to be fully effective and not reversed by a change of the government. In the EU the integration process is still going on, especially since the entrance of several Eastern countries. This paper shows that Eastern and Western Europeans have different preferences: the first would like a larger direct intervention of the public hand in the economy, while the second prefer a more private-oriented market than their Eastern peers. In addition for the citizens of ex-soviet countries, the concept of "competition" seems to represent more the new ideology that defeated the communism rather than a real market mechanism. Nevertheless some convergence emerges from data, especially during the last years, i.e. after the negative impact of transition over Eastern economies left the place to a beneficial recovery.
    Keywords: transition, Eastern Europe, Western Europe, people's support, market economy
    JEL: D40 O57 P36
    Date: 2009–04
  13. By: Enrique Rueda-Sabater; Vijaya Ramachandran; Robin Kraft
    Abstract: The geopolitical world of the 21st century is very different than that of the post– World War II era. In this new world order, what constitutes a system of global governance? We argue that it has to balance representation, which is made credible by the inclusion of key parts of the global community, and effectiveness, which means involving as small a number of actors as possible while having access to the resources—and clout—to turn decisions/intentions into action/results. In this paper, we propose simple, fundamental criteria—based on global shares of GDP and population—around which global governance might be organized. We analyze the role that these criteria would assign to different countries and compare them with some of the key components of the system of governance currently in place—the Bretton Woods institutions and the United Nations. We also examine the implications of our analysis for membership in the G-20 and the OECD. We find major disparities, which suggest the need for fundamental changes in sharp contrast to the incremental changes that are currently being considered. Overall, our analysis points to the need for a more comprehensive approach, and for much more than incremental solutions.
    Keywords: global governance, Bretton Woods, United Nations, G-20, OECD
    Date: 2009–02
  14. By: Gavin Wright (Stanford University)
    Abstract: Part of the Supplemental Materials for INNOVATION AND U.S. COMPETITIVENESS, The Conference Board report #R-1441-09-RR. About the Report: The Conference Board has recently undertaken a project on innovation and competitiveness, with funding from Microsoft Corporation. The goal of the project is to provide an overview of the current state of knowledge on the nature of innovation, and its role in stimulating economic growth and improved living standards in the U.S. The project draws on experts across the academic, corporate, and policy arenas, in addition to The Conference Board’s own analysis, surveys, and focus groups of the business community. Such experts met in February 2007 to present and discuss various aspects of the innovation process and measurement thereof. Each presenter wrote a summary piece focusing on his respective area of expertise. These summary documents underpin the content in Innovation and U.S. Competitiveness; however the conclusions drawn are those of The Conference Board alone. These papers are retained for reference in The Conference Board Economics Program Working Paper Series.
    Date: 2008–12
  15. By: Eyal Dvir; Kenneth S. Rogoff
    Abstract: We test for changes in price behavior in the longest crude oil price series available (1861-2008). We find strong evidence for changes in persistence and in volatility of price across three well defined periods. We argue that historically, the real price of oil has tended to be highly persistent and volatile whenever rapid industrialization in a major world economy coincided with uncertainty regarding access to supply. We present a modified commodity storage model that fully incorporates demand, and further can accommodate both transitory and permanent shocks. We show that the role of storage when demand is subject to persistent growth shocks is speculative, instead of its classic mitigating role. This result helps to account for the increased volatility of oil price we observe in these periods.
    JEL: E0 L7 N5 Q4
    Date: 2009–04
  16. By: Boermans, Martijn Adriaan; Moore, Basil J
    Abstract: Current macro-economic textbooks provide a fatally misleading description of the money supply process in modern economies. Over the past 20 years Post Keynesian authors have established conclusively that despite strictly-enforced cash reserve requirements, changes in the supply of bank deposits are not determined exogenously by central bank open market operations, but are endogenously determined by changes in bank borrowers’ demand for credit. Nevertheless the vast majority of undergraduate macroeconomic textbooks continue to teach the high-powered-base “money-multiplier” paradigm that the supply of money is exogenously determined by the central bank. Few texts recognize that interest rate targeting renders the high-powered base endogenous. This paper summarizes the extent mainstream macroeconomic textbooks are “locked in” and “sticky,” and fail both in the teaching of monetary policy and in proper scientific discourse.
    Keywords: macroeconomic textbooks; money supply; endogenous money paradigm; EMP; Post Keynesian economics; paradigm shift
    JEL: E12 E51 A20 I21 E58 E52 E41 A14 B5
    Date: 2008–11
  17. By: A. Amighini; M. Sanfilippo; R. Rabellotti
    Date: 2009–04
  18. By: ciumag, marin; ciumag, anca
    Abstract: The data and information support are made from justifying documents, account books, financial situations and periodical account reports, electronic bearers (bands and magnetic disks, CDs, and floppy disks). Some of these supports assure, in a first stage, the data collection, meaning their consignment (registration) and their preparation for processing, operation which has as a result the obtaining of the information itself which is stored for transmission to their users, usually using other supports than those designed for the data collection. The accounting, according to its object of study, has the obligation to observe, to record and to provide for analysis and control information corresponding to the cycle stage of production or conduct of business specific to the economic entity. These extremely complex tasks, with quantitative and qualitative implications are materialized in: registration of the economic facts, phenomena and processes; the information processing; the information storage; the economic operations control and the information centralization.
    Keywords: data and information support; justifying documents; the printed documents; the nomenclature of documents
    JEL: M41 Q56
    Date: 2008–02–18

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