nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒06‒10
eight papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. Swedish monetary standards in historical perspective By Edvinsson, Rodney
  3. Governance in the East Indian Company By Hofstede, Gert Jan; Zylbersztajn, Decio
  4. Foreign exchange rates in Sweden 1658-1803 By Edvinsson, Rodney
  5. The multiple currencies of Sweden-Finland 1534-1803 By Edvinsson, Rodney
  6. Post-1500 Population Flows and the Long Run Determinants of Economic Growth and Inequity By Louis Putterman; David Weil
  7. Att undervisa i Business history By Nordlund, Therese
  8. Historia empresarial del guineo: Empresas y empresarios bananeros en el departamento del Magdalena, 1870-1930 By Joaquín Viloria De la Hoz

  1. By: Edvinsson, Rodney (Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper classifies the monetary standards in Sweden from the Middle Ages to the present, and gives an overview of the various currencies that were in use. During most of Sweden’s history, a commodity standard was in place, while the fiat standard is a rather late innovation. The classification into monetary standards is also related to the issue of debasement under the commodity standard and the mechanisms behind the rise of multiple currencies.
    Keywords: monetary history; monetary standard; Sweden
    JEL: E42 N13 N14 N23 N24
    Date: 2009–05–24
  2. By: Jeremy Atack (Department of Economics, Vanderbilt University); Fred Bateman (University of Georgia, Department of Economics); Michael Haines (Colgate University, Department of Economics); Robert A. Margo (Boston University, Department of Economics)
    Abstract: For generations of scholars and observers, the "transportation revolution," especially the railroad, has loomed large as a dominant factor in the settlement and development of the United States in the nineteenth century. There has, however, been considerable debate as to whether transportation improvements led economic development or simply followed. Using a newly developed GIS transportation database we examine this issue in the context of the American Midwest, focusing on two indicators of broader economic change, population density and the fraction of population living in urban areas. Our difference in differences estimates (supported by IV robustness checks) strongly suggest that the coming of the railroad had little or no impact upon population densities just as Albert Fishlow concluded some 40 years ago. BUT, our results also imply that the railroad was the "cause" of midwestern urbanization, accounting for more than half of the increase in the fraction of population living in urban areas during the 1850s.
    Date: 2009–01
  3. By: Hofstede, Gert Jan; Zylbersztajn, Decio
    Abstract: (Vereenigde Oostindische Compagnie, the Dutch East India Company), one of the worldâs major players in the international food market of the 17th and 18th centuries. Can the experiences of the VOC teach lessons that todayâs food production networks may take to heart? There are three domains in which changes might have occurred since the times of the VOC that could be relevant to this question. These are the people themselves, the rules of the game that can be captured by the term governance, and context factors. The article will investigate all three. As far as the people are concerned it will look at factors such as worker conditions, attitudes, and culture in general. In the area of governance the paper will consider contract enforcement and coercion constraining. Context factors to consider are costs of transport and availability of capital. The method used in this article is desk research using a number of historical sources. The theories used are from NIE (New Institutional Economics) and from cultural psychology.
    Keywords: Agribusiness, Agricultural and Food Policy, Farm Management, Food Consumption/Nutrition/Food Safety, Industrial Organization,
    Date: 2008–10
  4. By: Edvinsson, Rodney (Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper deals with foreign exchange rates in Sweden 1658-1803. Foreign currencies played a crucial role in Sweden. Most of the domestic currency units were, in fact, originally imported. In the 18th century, the exchange rates most quoted in Sweden were the ones on Amsterdam, Hamburg, London, Paris, Copenhagen, Gdansk and Swedish Pomerania. The primary data are bills of various durations. To estimate spot rates, an assumption must be made of an interest rate on these bills. In the period 1662-1669 the estimated median shadow interest rate on bills of exchange was as high as 12.5 percent, while it most likely decreased substantially in the 18th century.
    Keywords: monetary history; foreign exchange; reichstaler; guilder; pound; taler; zloty; florin; Sweden
    JEL: E42 N13 N23
    Date: 2009–05–26
  5. By: Edvinsson, Rodney (Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper deals with the exchange rates between the domestic currencies of Sweden-Finland in 1534-1803. In 1534, the first silver daler coins were minted in Sweden, which existed alongside the main silver coins at a fluctuating exchange rate. In 1624, a copper standard was introduced. However, the silver standard continued to exist alongside the copper standard. A distinctive feature of the multi-currency standard in Sweden-Finland during the 17th and 18th centuries, was that there was not only a fluctuating market exchange rate between the copper and silver currencies, but also between various silver currencies. At least five or six currency units were used, three based on silver, one or two based on copper and one based on gold. In 1776 a mono-currency, silver standard was reintroduced, with the riksdaler as the main unit. However, montery stability was not long-lasting. In 1789-1803 two different currencies existed, one fiat currency based on riksdaler riksgälds notes and one based on the riksdaler banco that continued to be convertible into silver coins by the Riksbank. In 1803 the relation 1 riksdaler banco = 1.5 riksdaler riksgälds was fixed, which basically ended the period of multiple currencies.
    Keywords: monetary history; bimetallism; debasement; copper standard; Sweden
    JEL: E42 N13 N23
    Date: 2009–05–26
  6. By: Louis Putterman; David Weil
    Abstract: We construct a matrix showing the share of the year 2000 population in every country that is descended from people in different source countries in the year 1500. Using this matrix, we analyze how post-1500 migration has influenced the level of GDP per capita and within-country income inequality in the world today. Indicators of early development such as early state history and the timing of transition to agriculture have much better predictive power for current GDP when one looks at the ancestors of the people who currently live in a country than when one considers the history on that country’s territory, without adjusting for migration. Measures of the ethnic or linguistic heterogeneity of a country’s current population do not predict income inequality as well as measures of the ethnic or linguistic heterogeneity of the current population’s ancestors. An even better predictor of current inequality in a country is the variance of early development history of the country’s inhabitants, with ethnic groups originating in regions having longer histories of agriculture and organized states tending to be at the upper end of a country’s income distribution. However, high within-country variance of early development also predicts higher income per capita, holding constant the average level of early development.
    Keywords: Economic Growth; Migration; Income Inequality; State History; Linquistic Distance
    Date: 2008
  7. By: Nordlund, Therese (Dept. of Economic History, Stockholm University)
    Abstract: This paper discusses Business history teaching, focusing on its possibilities and limitations in today’s higher education. In Sweden, Business history teaching is still dominated by male teachers and male students. This paper discusses a “gender-conscious pedagogy” in terms of dealing with gender, class and ethnicity in the classroom. This paper suggests the importance of achieving a learning enviroment that promotes equal treatment regardless of gender. In order to achieve this goal, the teacher must motivate and encourage university students. The teacher has to discover the power and hierarchies inside the university classroom. The historical perspective is important in order to learn analyse, relate and understand the present society and business life in the past, and to give the students the tools to understand and criticise organizations. This is also relevant for other subjects, for example, economics.
    Keywords: Business history; pedagogy; higher teaching; gender issues; learning environment; education
    JEL: A22 I23
    Date: 2009–05–21
  8. By: Joaquín Viloria De la Hoz
    Abstract: En este documento se analiza la actividad económica y empresarial que se desarrolló en el departamento del Magdalena, más específicamente en Ciénaga y su área de influencia, entre las décadas de 1870 y 1930. Con este propósito, se estudian las iniciativas empresariales que buscaban impulsar y consolidar económicamente esta zona agrícola, a través de cultivos como el tabaco, el cacao y el banano. La zona bananera del Magdalena muestra un conjunto dinámico de iniciativas empresariales desde el nivel local, en el que sobresalen las redes y las empresas familiares. A finales del siglo XIX, estos empresarios agrícolas fueron los pioneros de la economía bananera en Colombia. La consolidación de la economía bananera de exportación en las primeras décadas del siglo XX, fue el resultado de al menos tres variables: iniciativas empresariales múltiples, política de estado favorable para la inversion (adjudicación de tierras y exenciones tributarias) y aprovechamiento de economías de escala en la producción y distribución de la fruta. La actividad bananera generó una dinámica económica significativa durante varias décadas en el departamento del Magdalena, pero, por diferentes fenómenos, no pudo convertirse en motor del desarrollo económico regional como lo fue la actividad cafetera en varios departamentos de Colombia.
    Date: 2009–05–26

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