nep-his New Economics Papers
on Business, Economic and Financial History
Issue of 2009‒09‒19
seventeen papers chosen by
Bernardo Batiz-Lazo
University of Leicester

  1. Russia’s Real National Income: The Great War, Civil War, and Recovery, 1913 to 1928 By Markevich, Andrei; Harrison, Mark
  2. New routines, growing interference and operational efficiency gains: the influence of Czar Peter the Great's economic policy on Dutch maritime shipping with Russia, 1709-1724 By Scheltjens, Werner
  3. The Western European Marriage Pattern and Economic Development By Foreman-Peck, James
  4. The Incidence of Civil War: Theory and Evidence By Timothy Besley; Torsten Persson
  5. Long Run Loans and Industrial Policy in Italy in the 1960s By Rota, Mauro
  6. The influence of spatial change on operational strategies in early-modern Dutch maritime shipping: a case-study on Dutch maritime shipping in the Gulf of Finland and on Archangel, 1703-1740 By Scheltjens, Werner
  7. Global inequality and the global inequality extraction ratio: the story of the past two centuries By Milanovic, Branko
  8. Knowledge, innovation and localised technological change in Italy, 1950-1990 By Antonelli Cristiano; Barbiellini Amidei Federico
  9. New Evidence on the First Financial Bubble By Rik G.P. Frehen; William N. Goetzmann; K. Geert Rouwenhorst
  10. Models of university and types of motivation implied : an historical perspective. By Jean-Luc De Meulemeester
  11. Reshaping the international monetary architecture : lessons from Keynes'plan By Piffaretti, Nadia F.
  12. Earnings Inequality and Coordination Costs: Evidence from U.S. Law Firms By Luis Garicano; Thomas Hubbard
  13. Why blu-ray vs. HD-DVD ist not VHS vs. Betamax: the co-evolution of standard-setting consortia By Christ, Julian P.; Slowak, André P.
  14. Property Rights and EconomicDevelopment By Timothy Besley; Maitreesh Ghatak
  15. La formación de un distrito industrial metalúrgico en Valladolid (c. 1842-c. 1953) By Monserrat Álvarez Martín; Pedro Pablo Ortúñez Goicolea
  16. Economistas liberales y cuestión femenina. El singular discurso de la domesticidad de la escuela economista española (1861-1909) By Susana Martínez Rodríguez
  17. Las identidades nacionales en América latina y en Europa By Carlos Escudé

  1. By: Markevich, Andrei (New Economic School, Moscow and Department of Economics, University of Warwick); Harrison, Mark (Department of Economics, University of Warwick ; Centre for Russian and East European Studies, University of Birmingham ; Hoover Institution on War, Revolution, and Peace, Stanford University)
    Abstract: We are working towards filling the last remaining gap in the historical national accounts of Russia and the USSR in the twentieth century. The gap includes the Great War (1914 to 1917), the Bolshevik Revolution, the Civil War and War Communism (1918 to 1921), and postwar recovery under the New Economic Policy of a mixed economy (1921 to 1928). Our work builds on our predecessors and also returns to a number of original sources. We find that the economic performance of the Russian Empire in wartime was somewhat better than previously thought; that of War Communism was correspondingly worse. We confirm the persistence of losses associated with the Civil War into the postwar period, or the failure of the New Economic Policy to achieve full recovery, or some mixture of both. We conclude that the Great War and Civil War produced the deepest economic trauma of Russia’s troubled twentieth century.
    Keywords: Civil War ; GDP, Russia ; Soviet Union ; World War I
    JEL: E20 N14 N44 O52
    Date: 2009
  2. By: Scheltjens, Werner
    Abstract: This paper is an attempt to analyze how the Dutch shipping and trade system reacted to the profound changes that occurred in Dutch-Russian trade relations in the first two decades of the eighteenth century. It will be substantiated that the changes that occurred had complex underlying causes: it is in fact the combination of far-reaching protectionist measures aimed at the polarization of St. Petersburg, changes in product demand in the Netherlands and the weakened position of Dutch maritime shipping as opposed to its direct competitors (primarily English shipping). In this paper, the primary focus will be on the effects of the polarization of St. Petersburg. It will be argued that Czar Peter the Great's foreign and domestic economic policies led to the emergence of new routines, the abandonment of the traditional Archangel route, growing interference between nearby destinations in the eastern part of the Gulf of Finland and operational efficiency gains in goods transportation to and from Russia. The paper challenges the traditional view of maritime shipping as a spin-off effect of trade and embraces a more comprehensive analytical point of view that has its foundations in evolutionary economic theory.
    Keywords: maritime shipping, Peter the Great, operational strategies
    JEL: N7
    Date: 2009–06–14
  3. By: Foreman-Peck, James (Cardiff Business School)
    Abstract: For several centuries, women's age at first marriage in Western Europe was higher than in the east (and in the rest of the world). Over the same period Western Europe began slow but sustained economic development relative to elsewhere. A model based on the economics of the household explains this association in two related ways. Both connect mortality, and the exercise of fertility restraint through higher marriage age, with greater human capital accumulation. The first explanation is simply an association but the second proposes a causal link where higher age of motherhood reduced the cost of investment in children. Evidence is provided that the causal process was operative in later nineteenth century Europe
    Keywords: Human Capital; Household Production; Economic Development; 19th Century Europe
    JEL: N13 N33 O15 J12 J24
    Date: 2009–09
  4. By: Timothy Besley; Torsten Persson
    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.
    Date: 2009–02
  5. By: Rota, Mauro
    Abstract: In the II postwar phase of intensive growth, Italian policy makers, controlling banking system, used credit deepening as the leading instrument for policy targets: the industrialization of the country and reduction of regional disparities. This work presents a reconstruction of territorial long run loans to the manufacturing industries, outlining some aspects of the Italian development path summarized by a strategy of industrialization which was different across areas and branches. Moreover, it suggests a positive effect of credit deepening on product per worker in a cross section time series analysis, looking at eleven branches of manufacturing industries in the two Italian macro-regions: the Centre-North and the Mezzogiorno.
    Keywords: Industrial policy; Credit; Cross-Section Time Series Analysis;
    JEL: E51 H81 N44 N14
    Date: 2009–09
  6. By: Scheltjens, Werner
    Abstract: A fundamental discrepancy between neoclassical and institutional research approaches lies at the core of contrasting results in historical studies about maritime shipping and trade. However, there is one point on which both contrasting approaches agree: both of them see maritime shipping as a spin-off effect and even more often as an illustration of trade. Thus, the mere fact that maritime transportation is an economic activity in its own right is ignored. In this paper, I claim that in order to understand the foundation of St. Petersburg in function of its influence on Dutch maritime shipping an evolutionary theory and methodology need to be applied, since they can overcome the limitations of neoclassical and institutional approaches to economic history. The goal of this case-study is to understand the how spatial change affects maritime shipping. This goal serves a double purpose. Firstly, it makes an activity commonly seen as a spin-off effect of trade central to the analysis. Secondly, it makes the interaction between land and sea a core analytical issue. I carry out the study of the influence of spatial change on maritime shipping in a historical context, thus subscribing to Paul David’s claim to use the past as “a museum of interesting cases” that provides a better empirical basis than the present.
    Keywords: maritime history; economic history; Dutch-Russian trade relations
    JEL: N73 N7
    Date: 2009–02–19
  7. By: Milanovic, Branko
    Abstract: Using social tables, the author makes an estimate of global inequality (inequality among world citizens) in the early 19th century. The analysis shows that the level and composition of global inequality have changed over the past two centuries. The level has increased, reaching a high plateau around the 1950s, and the main determinants of global inequality have become differences in mean country incomes rather than inequalities within nations. The inequality extraction ratio (the percentage of total inequality that was extracted by global elites) has remained surprisingly stable, at around 70 percent of the maximum global Gini, during the past 100 years.
    Keywords: Inequality,Poverty Impact Evaluation,Equity and Development,Services&Transfers to Poor,Access to Finance
    Date: 2009–09–01
  8. By: Antonelli Cristiano (University of Turin); Barbiellini Amidei Federico
    Abstract: The paper is an attempt to provide an interpretation of the Italian puzzle in the post-WWII era consisting of very low levels of expenditure in R&D and yet high TFP growth. The research aims to supply the basic tools and the framework for a better understanding of the Italian industry innovation system and of its contribution to the country’s long term growth performance. The study applies the localized echnological change approach to implement the notion of knowledge interactions so as to appreciate: a) the role of external factors in the generation and exploitation of technological knowledge; b) the role of creative adoption in TFP dynamics. The analysis is based on a new dataset containing sectoral and regional series of TFP, capital intensity,wages per labour unit, R&D expenditures, patents granted in the USA, Technological Balance of Payments receipts and expenses, etc. for Italy over the 1950-1990 period. Using a SURE model framework, the impact of user-producer interactions on the dynamic efficiency of the Italian industrial sector is investigated across industries and regions. The significant and distinctive features of Italian innovation dynamics in the post WWII era that result are: i) the emerging and functioning of an innovation system based upon both horizontal dynamics of technological cooperation within industrial districts and vertical dynamic interdependence within industrial filieres; ii) a relevant, albeit incomplete, diffusion/catching up process in Italian regions.
    Date: 2009–09
  9. By: Rik G.P. Frehen; William N. Goetzmann; K. Geert Rouwenhorst
    Abstract: The first global financial bubble in stock prices occurred 1720 in Paris, London and the Netherlands. Explanations for these linked bubbles primarily focus on the irrationality of investor speculation and the corresponding stock price behavior of two large firms: the South Sea Company in Great Britain and the Mississippi Company in France. In this paper we examine a broad cross-section of security price data to evaluate the causes of the bubbles. Using newly collected stock prices for British and Dutch firms in 1720, we find evidence against indiscriminate irrational exuberance and evidence in favor of speculation about two factors: the Atlantic trade and the incorporation of insurance companies. The fundamentals of both sectors may have led to high expectations of future growth. Our findings are consistent with the hypothesis that financial bubbles require a plausible story to justify investor optimism.
    JEL: G15 N13 N15
    Date: 2009–09
  10. By: Jean-Luc De Meulemeester (Centre Emile Bernheim, Solvay Brussels School of Economics and Management, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels and DULBEA, Université Libre de Bruxelles, Brussels.)
    Abstract: In this paper, we summarize the long run (institutional) evolution of universities in order to identify key models (ideal-types) and the implied motivations of actors. We analyze the university as a medieval guild, its takeover by the State and its decline; we then focus on the emergence of an open model of scientific inquiry. We show how the Humboldtian model emerging in the early 19th century can be viewed as a synthesis of prior developments. We show its diffusion around the world and after the WW2 its problems in an age of massive expansion of higher education and increased economic pressures. We show that the today movement of academic reforms was at the same time unavoidable but marking a clear rupture with the earlier developments. From autonomy and self-regulation, academic institutions become tools of economic and social policies steered from outside – with clear (negative) effects on the motivation of at least the older generation of academics believing in the old academic (Humboldtian) ethos.
    JEL: I23 N30
    Date: 2009–09
  11. By: Piffaretti, Nadia F.
    Abstract: As the global economy undergoes profound changes, it is becoming apparent that the so-called"Revived Bretton Woods System"has increased the overall vulnerability of the global financial architecture. Therefore, it is worth revisiting the origins of the Bretton Woods conference, and pointing out the relevance for today’s framework of Keynes’ original 1942 plan for an International Clearing Union. This note explores the main characteristics of Keynes'original plan, by revisiting his original writings between 1940 and 1944, and outlining its relevance to the current debate on the international financial architecture. The note suggests that reforms of the international financial architecture should include anchoring the international monetary system on sounder institutional ground.
    Keywords: Currencies and Exchange Rates,Debt Markets,Banks&Banking Reform,Emerging Markets,Access to Finance
    Date: 2009–08–01
  12. By: Luis Garicano; Thomas Hubbard
    Abstract: Earnings inequality has increased substantially since the 1970s. Using evidence from confidential Census data on U.S. law offices on lawyers’ organization and earnings, we study the extent to which the mechanism suggested by Lucas (1978) and Rosen (1982), a scale of operations effect linking spans of control and earnings inequality, is responsible for increases in inequality. We first show that earnings inequality among lawyers increased substantially between 1977 and 1992, and that the distribution of partner-associate ratios across offices changed in ways consistent with the hypothesis that coordination costs fell during this period. We then propose a “hierarchical production function” in which output is the product of skill and time and estimate its parameters, applying insights from the equilibrium assignment literature. We find that coordination costs fell broadly and steadily during this period, so that hiring one’s first associate leveraged a partner’s skill by about 30% more in 1992 than 1977. We find also that changes in lawyers’ hierarchical organization account for about 2/3 of the increase in earnings inequality among lawyers in the upper tail, but a much smaller share of the increase in inequality between lawyers in the upper tail and other lawyers. These findings indicate that new organizational efficiencies potentially explain increases in inequality, especially among individuals toward the top of the earnings distribution.
    Date: 2009–09
  13. By: Christ, Julian P.; Slowak, André P.
    Abstract: Extensive research has been conducted on the economics of standards in the last three decades. To date, standard-setting studies emphasize a superior role of demand-side-driven technology diffusion; these contributions assume the evolution of a user-driven momentum and network externalities. We find that consumers wait for a dominant standard if they are unable to evaluate technological supremacy. Thus, supply-side-driven activities necessarily need to address an absence of demand-side technology adoption. Our paper focuses on Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD as an illustrative case of consortia standard wars. One central role of consortia is to coordinate strategic behavior between heterogeneous agents, e.g. incumbents, complementors (content providers) and others, but also to form a coalition against other standard candidates. More precisely, we argue that agents signal standard-setting war outcomes through consortia events. We depict the essential role of consortia structures for the recently determined standard war between the High-Definition disc specifications Blu-ray and HD-DVD. Therefore, the paper suggests that unique supply-side dynamics from consortia structures, consortia announcements and exclusive backing decisions of firms determined the standard-setting process in the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD standard war. This study is based on the following data: movie releases and sales numbers, membership affiliation for structural consortia analysis, and an in-depth event study. A detailed comparison of the technological specifications of both standard specifications supports our argument that there was no technological supremacy of one standard candidate from a consumer-oriented usecase perspective. We furthermore clarify that content providers (complementors) such as movie studios and movie rental services feature a gate-keeping position in the Blu-ray vs. HD-DVD standard war. In the case of Blu-ray, film studios decided the standard war because the availability of movie releases, but not technological supremacy, made the standard attractive to consumers. Finally, we find that there is a co-evolution of the consortia in terms of membership dynamics. Particularly, firm allegiance of heterogeneous agents plays a crucial role.
    Keywords: Blu-ray,HD-DVD,standard wars,co-evolution,consortia,event study
    JEL: B52 D84 L15 O33
    Date: 2009
  14. By: Timothy Besley; Maitreesh Ghatak
    Abstract: This chapter develops a unified analytical framework, drawing on and extending theexisting literature on the subject, for studying the role of property rights in economicdevelopment. It addresses two fundamental and related questions concerning therelationship between property rights and economic activity. (i) What are themechanisms through which property rights affect economic activity? (ii) What arethe determinants of property rights? In answering these, it surveys some of the mainempirical and theoretical ideas from the extensive literature on the topic.
    Keywords: Property rights, Economic development.
    JEL: K11 O17 P14
    Date: 2009–02
  15. By: Monserrat Álvarez Martín (Departamento de Historia e Instituciones Económicas , Universidad de Valladolid); Pedro Pablo Ortúñez Goicolea (Departamento de Historia e Instituciones Económicas , Universidad de Valladolid)
    Abstract: This work proposes a long term outlook in order to investigate the reasons explaining the development and importance of the metal-mechanic sector in Valladolid during the second half of the 20th century. We find that the political decisions after the Spanish Civil War of 1936 are determinant in explaining the change of size of this industrial district, but also that Valladolid knew how to take advantage of its privileged geographic situation, its means of transport -Canal and Railway-, and the introduction of electric power at the beginning of the century, to free itself from an excessive dependence on the agricultural sector for its development. Not only the political advantages coming out of the war, but also the tradition developed since 1842, explain the introduction of large companies in the next decades.
    Keywords: Spain, Metallurgical Industry, Industrial Districts, Growth Contribution, Localization Factors
    JEL: N63 N64 N83 N84
    Date: 2009–09
  16. By: Susana Martínez Rodríguez (Unidad de Historia Económica – Dpto. de Economía e Historia Económica ; Universitat Autonoma de Barcelona)
    Abstract: The texts by the Spanish Economist School (second half of the 19th century) –so called liberals- valued the role of women in the economy and the society in a way which strongly confronted the prevailing discourse that defended a unique and exclusive role for all women: housewife and mother. Most members of the Spanish liberal economic trend defended female work in the factories, arguing in terms of wages; they even asked for professional training for illiterate women (who in many cases could not even write and read for the fact of being a woman). The texts of those economists provided new ideas about the economic and social role of women in a Spain dominated by a discourse that denied the need for female work even for poor working class families
    Keywords: discourse of the domesticity, role of women in the contemporary societies, Spanish Economists School, Spain, 19th century
    JEL: B54 B29 Z19
    Date: 2009–09
  17. By: Carlos Escudé
    Abstract: Cuando cayó Roma, su vasto imperio se segmentó en muchos sentidos, incluido el lingüístico. En las regiones romanizadas el latín vulgar evolucionó de manera diferente en cada parroquia, dando lugar a una multitud de lenguas vernáculas romances. En las regiones menos romanizadas renacieron las lenguas indígenas, también muy segmentadas. Esto cambió cuando, con la introducción de la imprenta de caracteres móviles, comenzó un proceso inverso de amalgama de dialectos vernáculos. Algunos se erigieron en lenguas literarias que eventualmente reemplazaron al latín eclesiástico. Así emergieron unas protonacionalidades lingüísticas que fueron la base a partir de la que eventualmente surgieron las identidades nacionales europeas. La mayor parte de las “naciones” tuvieron su propia lengua, y esto determinó la obsesión étnica de los nacionalismos europeos, frecuentemente violenta.
    Date: 2009–09

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